FUCHS, JOSEPH PHILIP (26 April 1900 - 14 March 1997) became a noted violin soloist and teacher after his tenure as concertmaster of the CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA. A native New Yorker, he was the son of Philip and Kate Weiss Fuchs and studied under Franz Kneisel at the Institute of Musical Art (later Julliard), where he graduated in 1918. Making his debut recital at Aeolian Hall in 1920, he won the Isaac Seligman Prize in 1925 for the composition of a string sextet. During a social gathering at the apartment of New York World editor Herbert Swope, Fuchs once outfiddled a group of violinists which included Jascha Heifetz and Efrem Zimbalist by playing Paganini's "Moto Perpetuo" nonstop for 21 minutes. Fuchs came to the Cleveland Orchestra as its fourth concertmaster in 1926. His 15-year tenure was second in longevity only to that of the late DANIEL HAROLD MAJESKE. He also served as first violin in the Cleveland String Quartet and in 1930 became head of the violin department of the CLEVELAND INSTITUTE OF MUSIC. His playing was threatened in the late 1930s by atrophy in the fingers of his left hand. After experimental surgery, Fuchs retrained himself and resumed his career as a soloist in 1943 at New York's Town Hall. Playing a 1722 Straduvarius, he appeared with every major orchestra in the U.S. and toured extensively in South America, Europe, Israel, and Japan. A champion of new music, Fuchs commissioned and introduced Walter Piston's "Violin Concerto No. 2" with the aid of a Ford Foundation grant in 1960. His many recordings included one of the first complete sets of the Beethoven violin sonatas. From 1946 to his death, he was a professor of violin at the Julliard School of Music. Following his 1930 marriage to Lillian Ruth Fuchs, which ended in divorce a decade later, Fuchs married Doris Levy, who died only weeks before him. His sister Lillian Fuchs was a noted violinist, and his brother Harry Fuchs played in the Cleveland Orchestra cello section from 1937-1979. Fuchs died at home in Manhattan and was buried at Beth-El Cemetery in New Jersey.

J. V.

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