Camilla Wicks, Stunning Violinist From a Youthful Age, Dies at 92

Melissa M. Munoz

Howard Taubman, examining the violinist Camilla Wicks’s New York debut at City Corridor in The New York Times in 1942, experienced to acknowledge that she had “a certain aptitude for the fiddle.” He was specifically impressed by her managing of tricky passages in the Paganini D main Concerto, a perform requiring an abundance of technological talent.

By the way, Ms. Wicks at the time was, as the review’s opening sentence observed, “a fairly, flaxen-haired lass of 13 and a half.”

She had by now been impressing West Coastline audiences for decades, possessing designed her debut with an orchestra at age 7 in Prolonged Seashore. But she was no flash-in-the-pan prodigy whose skills don’t establish with age. Eleven decades soon after that New York debut, now in her mid-20s, she played Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Corridor, and even the orchestra’s musicians had been amazed.

“The Larghetto was especially fantastic,” the assessment in The Periods stated, “for below her actively playing was so rapt and serene that it absolutely justified her unusually gradual tempo. The adult men of the orchestra joined with the audience in the hearty applause.”

Ms. Wicks experienced blossomed from prodigy into a person of the finest violinists of her time, and she was among the couple women in that era to realize prominence as a violin soloist. Later she grew to become a highly regarded teacher.

She died on Nov. 25 in Weston, Fla., at the property of her daughter Lise-Marie Thomas Wertanzl, in which she experienced been residing for some months. She was 92. Ms. Thomas Wertanzl said Ms. Wicks had contracted Covid-19 in April and had been hospitalized for 42 days but experienced been tests damaging for the virus not too long ago.

Camilla Delores Wicks was born on Aug. 9, 1928, into a musical loved ones. Her father, Ingwald, was a violinist, and her mom, Ruby (Dawson Stone) Wicks, was a pianist.

A biography on her site reported that she questioned for a violin at 3 1/2 and was playing Vivaldi’s A minor Concerto from memory at 4. Her father was her 1st trainer and identified her innate expertise at 10 she was sent to the Juilliard Faculty in New York to examine with the observed instructor Louis Persinger, who was her accompanist at her Town Corridor live performance in 1942.

She played the Hollywood Bowl in 1946 even though however in her teenagers and was read regularly on the radio in the decades soon after Environment War II. In 1952 she recorded the Sibelius Violin Concerto, an interpretation that has been admired ever due to the fact.

In the early 1950s, she married Robert Thomas, and in 1953 the initially of their five young children was born. For a time she was equipped to manage the needs of getting each a mom and a specialist musician.

“I was normally playing with one particular of my small children inside of of me,” she mentioned in a 2017 job interview with the auction web site Tarisio, which that yr offered the Arthur Smith violin she had played for 50 % a century for $84,000. “I was expecting with my initial daughter for the Beethoven Violin Concerto at Carnegie Corridor, and then I ongoing when I was expecting with my son, and so on.”

In a 1987 interview with Louise Cavanaugh Sciannameo that the tunes website the Strad posted past week, Ms. Wicks elaborated on the tricky balancing act.

“I do not believe the problem of possessing a vocation, marrying, and raising little ones will at any time be solved,” she reported. “I didn’t dare tell administration when I was pregnant. It was so really hard. I wore special dresses and realized how to stroll so I did not glance pregnant.”

Sooner or later, in the late 1950s, she stepped away from performing for a time, even promoting her prized instrument, a 1725 Stradivarius. But she returned to taking part in periodically. Her on-line biography recounts that in the early 1970s, when she settled in Washington condition and taught at Wenatchee Valley College or university, she would occasionally play with a nonprofessional community orchestra there. In a remembrance posted last week in The Wenatchee Earth, that paper’s publisher emeritus, Rufus Woods, explained that the orchestra’s conductor, not realizing who she was, at very first sat her in the next violin section.

But Ms. Wicks also carried out in her later on decades with professional teams like the Detroit Symphony, as effectively as abroad, specially in Scandinavia. She taught at establishments such as the University of Michigan, Rice College and the Eastman School of New music.

She built several recordings but gained a new appreciation among the classical audio aficionados in 2015 with the release of “Camilla Wicks: Five Many years of Treasured Performances,” a 6-CD collection that compiled several are living recordings.

In the Tarisio interview, Ms. Wicks recalled the issues she from time to time experienced in her younger days as a woman in the male-dominated area of classical music.

“I was 1 of the number of women who broke via to enjoy in the massive leagues,” she claimed, “and some of the conductors were seriously quite miffed about it. I won’t identify names, but a person of them was not adhering to me on objective and was a 50 % evaluate guiding me the whole time. I didn’t know then to speed myself to the stubborn conductor’s accompaniment. That would have been the solution, but I went in advance and played my velocity!”

Her relationship to Mr. Thomas ended in divorce. Her son Philip Thomas died in 2011, and her son Paul Thomas died in 2017. In addition to Ms. Wertanzl, she is survived by yet another daughter, Angela Thomas Jeffrey a son, Erik Thomas and 3 grandchildren.

In the job interview released posthumously by the Strad, Ms. Wicks mirrored on the function of audio.

“We need one thing that is heading to deliver us hope,” she mentioned. “All music can complete this. The greatest of pieces are people that say, ‘Yes, this is horrible, but there is hope.’”

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