Camilla Wicks, Dazzling Violinist From a Younger Age, Dies at 92
Howard Taubman, reviewing the violinist Camilla Wicks’s New York debut at City Corridor in Gadget Clock in 1942, needed to admit that she had “a sure aptitude for the fiddle.” He was particularly impressed by her dealing with of adverse passages within the Paganini D main Concerto, a piece requiring an abundance of technical ability.
By the way in which, Ms. Wicks on the time was, because the evaluate’s opening sentence famous, “a fairly, flaxen-haired lass of 13 and a half.”
She had already been impressing West Coast audiences for years, having made her debut with an orchestra at age 7 in Lengthy Seashore. However she was no flash-in-the-pan prodigy whose skills don’t develop with age. Eleven years after that New York debut, now in her mid-20s, she performed Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Corridor, and even the orchestra’s musicians have been impressed.
“The Larghetto was particularly superb,” the evaluate in The Instances stated, “for right here her taking part in was so rapt and serene that it absolutely justified her unusually sluggish tempo. The lads of the orchestra joined with the viewers within the hearty applause.”
Ms. Wicks had blossomed from prodigy into one of many best violinists of her time, and he or she was among the many few girls in that period to attain prominence as a violin soloist. Later she turned a revered instructor.
She died on Nov. 25 in Weston, Fla., on the house of her daughter Lise-Marie Thomas Wertanzl, the place she had been residing for some months. She was 92. Ms. Thomas Wertanzl stated Ms. Wicks had contracted Covid-19 in April and had been hospitalized for 42 days however had been testing detrimental for the virus not too long ago.
Camilla Delores Wicks was born on Aug. 9, 1928, right into a musical household. Her father, Ingwald, was a violinist, and her mom, Ruby (Dawson Stone) Wicks, was a pianist.
A biography on her web site stated that she requested for a violin at 3 1/2 and was taking part in Vivaldi’s A minor Concerto from reminiscence at 4. Her father was her first instructor and acknowledged her innate expertise; at 10 she was despatched to the Juilliard Faculty in New York to check with the famous instructor Louis Persinger, who was her accompanist at her City Corridor live performance in 1942.
She performed the Hollywood Bowl in 1946 whereas nonetheless in her teenagers and was heard steadily on the radio within the years after World Warfare II. In 1952 she recorded the Sibelius Violin Concerto, an interpretation that has been admired ever since.
Within the early Fifties, she married Robert Thomas, and in 1953 the primary of their 5 kids was born. For a time she was capable of handle the calls for of being each a mom and an expert musician.
“I used to be all the time taking part in with certainly one of my kids within me,” she stated in a 2017 interview with the public sale website Tarisio, which that 12 months bought the Arthur Smith violin she had performed for half a century for $84,000. “I used to be pregnant with my first daughter for the Beethoven Violin Concerto at Carnegie Corridor, after which I continued once I was pregnant with my son, and so forth.”
In a 1987 interview with Louise Cavanaugh Sciannameo that the music website the Strad revealed final week, Ms. Wicks elaborated on the troublesome balancing act.
“I don’t suppose the issue of getting a profession, marrying, and elevating kids will ever be solved,” she stated. “I didn’t dare inform administration once I was pregnant. It was so onerous. I wore particular clothes and discovered methods to stroll so I didn’t look pregnant.”
Finally, within the late Fifties, she stepped away from performing for a time, even promoting her prized instrument, a 1725 Stradivarius. However she returned to taking part in periodically. Her on-line biography recounts that within the early Nineteen Seventies, when she settled in Washington state and taught at Wenatchee Valley School, she would typically play with a nonprofessional neighborhood orchestra there. In a remembrance revealed final week in The Wenatchee World, that paper’s writer emeritus, Rufus Woods, stated that the orchestra’s conductor, not realizing who she was, at first sat her within the second violin part.
However Ms. Wicks additionally carried out in her later years with skilled teams just like the Detroit Symphony, in addition to abroad, particularly in Scandinavia. She taught at establishments together with the College of Michigan, Rice College and the Eastman Faculty of Music.
She made few recordings however gained a brand new appreciation amongst classical music aficionados in 2015 with the discharge of “Camilla Wicks: 5 Many years of Treasured Performances,” a six-CD assortment that compiled quite a few dwell recordings.
Within the Tarisio interview, Ms. Wicks recalled the difficulties she typically had in her youthful days as a girl within the male-dominated area of classical music.
“I used to be one of many few girls who broke by means of to play within the massive leagues,” she stated, “and a number of the conductors have been actually fairly miffed about it. I gained’t identify names, however certainly one of them was not following me on objective and was a half measure behind me the entire time. I didn’t know then to tempo myself to the cussed conductor’s accompaniment. That might have been the reply, however I went forward and performed my pace!”
Her marriage to Mr. Thomas led to divorce. Her son Philip Thomas died in 2011, and her son Paul Thomas died in 2017. Along with Ms. Wertanzl, she is survived by one other daughter, Angela Thomas Jeffrey; a son, Erik Thomas; and three grandchildren.
Within the interview revealed posthumously by the Strad, Ms. Wicks mirrored on the position of music.
“We’d like one thing that’s going to convey us hope,” she stated. “All music can accomplish this. The best of items are people who say, ‘Sure, that is horrible, however there’s hope.’”
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