New York born Sir Yehudi Menuhin spent most of his performing life in the UK. He is considered to be one of the great classical violinists of the 20th Century. His EMI contract lasted almost 70 years and is on of the longest in the history of the music inustry. His first recording was in 1929 at the age of 13 and his last was in 1999 aged 83, the year he passed away.
I left my sketch at his London office in 1995 and he signed and returned it with New Year’s wishes.
French fiddler Stephane Grappelli was considered ‘the grandfather of jazz violinists’. His self taught improvisation skills produced ‘tender lyricism and vivacious swing’.
He was playing concerts around the world well into his 80s. He toured New Zealand many times and signed my sketch in Dunedin in September 1991. In 1997 he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. When asked about retirement, he said he didn’t know the word. Music was his ‘fountain of youth’. He died later that year, aged 89, after a hernia operation in a Paris clinic.
Vanessa-Mae Vanakorn Nicholson was a former child prodigy. Her father was an English hotelier of Thai descent and her mother a Chinese lawyer. She was born in Singapore, but moved to the UK at the age of 4. She describes her style as ‘violin techno-acoustic fusion’. Vanessa-Mae signed my sketch at her concert in the Queen’s Wharf Events Centre in Wellington, New Zealand on January 25th 1996. A keen skier, she now lives in Switzerland and plans to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in the downhill representing Thailand.