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Miriam Fried

Distinguished Professor -- Founders Day 2005

Distinguished Professor
Dorothy and Richard Starling Endowed Chair in Music
School of Music
Indiana University Bloomington
Appointed to IU faculty, 1986
B.M., Rubin Academy of Music, 1964

When Miriam Fried picks up her violin -- a 1718 Stradivarius -- people listen.

A professor of violin at Indiana University Bloomington's School of Music since 1986, Fried's career has led her to all corners of the globe, from guest performances with all of the major orchestras in the U.S. to recital tours across Europe. After nearly 30 years, the performer who New York Magazine called "a world-class violinist" has been able to maintain that perfect balance of teaching and performing that keeps a performer at her peak and keeps a professor in touch with life outside the classroom.

Fried's solo career was launched in 1968 when she won first prize in Genoa's Paganini International Competition. Three years later, she was the first woman ever to win top honors in the Queen Elizabeth International Competition.

"Few other violinists of our time have enjoyed such a prestigious career as a soloist, a recording artist, and now as a teacher who has mentored some of the finest graduates in violin the School of Music has produced," says Indiana University School of Music Dean Gwyn Richards.

Born in Romania, Fried and her family emigrated to Israel when she was just two. In Tel Aviv, young Miriam had violin lessons with Alice Fenyves, and played for Isaac Stern, Nathan Milstein, and Yehudi Menuhin, among other well-known violinists. Fried also studied in Switzerland with Lorand Fenyves. She came to the United States to work with Josef Gingold at Indiana University at the recommendation of Stern. Later, Fried studied with Ivan Galamian at The Juilliard School and played for Stern occasionally as he took an interest in her development.

"I have always considered her one of the major musicians on the violin in our time, and she has proven to be enormously successful in concerts wherever she has appeared," says Stern. "In hearing her students, I always see evidence of the best qualities of musical intelligence."

Fried has performed with most of the major orchestras in the U.S. and Europe, including the New York Philharmonic and Berlin Philharmonic; performed at festivals including Ravina, Tanglewood, and Marlboro; toured with orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra (at Carnegie Hall) and the Czech Philharmonic; had works written for her by Ned Rorem, Donald Erb, and Alexander Boskovich; and made appearances on numerous television and radio programs. Since 1993, she has served as chair of the faculty at The Stearns Institute for Young Artists at the Ravina Festival, one of the top summer programs for young musicians. Fried is currently first violinist with the Mendelssohn String Quartet and has recorded the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, along with several other acclaimed recordings.

Fried is widely considered a consummate musician, equally accomplished as recitalist, concerto soloist or chamber musician -- not to mention an outstanding teacher. Her colleagues at IU hold her in the highest esteem. Renowned cellist and Distinguished Professor Janos Starker says Fried "is among the most outstanding violinists of her generation."

There is perhaps no clearer measure of a professor's effectiveness than the success of her students. Miriam Fried's students have gone on to successful careers as soloists, teachers, concertmasters, and members of top symphony orchestras worldwide. And as much as people listen when Fried takes up her violin, she's listening just as carefully to her students.

"It is impossible to fully describe the impact Miriam Fried has had on my musical and personal life," says former student Emily Popham, now pursuing graduate studies at Juilliard. "I first met her while I was still a high school student frustrated with my violin playing. As I began to study with her, my fear turned to awe. . . . I had finally found someone who would help me discover exactly the sound I needed to communicate with an audience."