In the Beginning was the Music…
father, Isaak Zhuk, was born in 1902 in the city of Poltava in the Ukraine. His
parents dreamed that their son would become a rabbi, but this son was entitled
to live his own life. Indeed, entitlement and opportunity conspired in Isaak’s
formation, for at the beginning of the XXth century Poltava was a cultural,
musical city with a symphony orchestra of its very own. At that time, a
wonderful violin teacher, Joachim Goldberg, lived and worked in Poltava. (Of his
destiny, I know only that he became professor at the Kharkov Conservatory, and
in 1941 was shot to death by the Nazis.)
This photo was taken around 1920. Here, Goldberg is presented with his students.
Seated, first from the left is my Father. Standing, second from the left is the
famous conductor, Karl Eliasberg.
father began studying with Goldberg at the age of nine, rather late for a
beginning violin student, but he progressed rapidly. There were five children in
the Zhuk family, and all got on in life, graduating from universities or
colleges. His sister, Vera, became an engineer and Clara, a biologist. Brothers
Boris and Alexander became a neurologist and composer respectively.
This is a group of provincial young people in the 1920s. In the middle figure my
father and my mother, Alexandra, to whom I am indebted for collecting and
preserving our family archive among other of her accomplishments.
the mid-1920s, Father moved to Leningrad. He started study at the Leningrad
Conservatory with Professor Sergei Korguev, a pupil of the celebrated Leopold
Auer, creator of the Russian school of violin playing. After a while, Professor
Korguev told him: “I advise you to go to Moscow.” “A young, gifted pedagogue, my
former student Abram Yampolsky has just obtained a chair at the Moscow
Conservatory.” Thus, my father became a student of Yampolsky.
Content copyright 2004© Valentin Zhuk. All rights reserved.