Local musical luminary Dr. Isidor Saslav passes away

Dr. Isidor SaslavLongtime resident of Rusk County and noted symphony concertmaster, concert violinist, musicologist and Haydn scholar, Dr. Isidor Saslav died at East Texas Medical Center Tyler on Jan. 26.

Born in Jerusalem, Palestine, in 1938, Saslav came to the U.S. as a child, where he studied violin under Detroit Symphony concertmaster Mischa Misha koff, and became one of the youngest members of the Detroit Symphony at age 17.

Saslav graduated from Wayne State University and received a doctorate in Music from Indiana University.

During his long and distinguished career, Saslav served as the concertmaster of numerous orchestras including the Buffalo Philharmonic, Minnesota Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, New Zealand Symphony, the Dallas Opera, Kennedy Center Opera, the Baltimore Opera and Indiana University Opera orchestras.

In Texas, he retired in 2003 as the longtime concertmaster of the Longview Symphony Orchestra under conductor Tõnu Kalam and also served as concertmaster of the Beaumont Symphony Orchestra.

For more than 30 years, along with his wife, concert pianist Ann Heiligman Saslav, Isidor Saslav performed in the United States, Europe, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand and performed classical music programs in schools throughout the country for more than two million students through their non-profit organization, Adventures with the Arts.

Saslav also taught at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, the Eastman School of Music and the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Saslav established, and for more than a decade headed, the strings program at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches.

A lifetime devotee of playwright George Bernard Shaw, Saslav established a library in Overton dedicated to his extensive Shaw collection and memorabilia from his and his wife’s remarkable musical careers.

Saslav is survived by his wife of 50 years, Ann Heiligman Saslav; son, David Saslav; daughter, Leanora Saslav; and daughter-in-law, Melissa Smith, all of San Francisco, California.

A memorial celebration of the life and work of Isidor Saslav will be held in Overton and announced at a future date.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Isidor Saslav Strings Scholarship Fund at Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music in Nacogdoches or the Longview Symphony Orchestra.

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