Hailed by colleagues as a "complete musician" in a career already
spanning half a century, Joseph Silverstein has been called one of the
most accomplished and versatile American violinists of his generation. Born
in Detroit in 1932, he went to the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, where his
teachers included Veda Reynolds and Efrem Zimbalist. Later he worked with Mischa
Mischakoff, the concertmaster of Toscanini's NBC Symphony Orchestra.
After graduating from Curtis in 1950, Silverstein became a member of the Houston
Symphony, and he joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1955 as its youngest
member. In 1959 he won the silver medal at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in
Brussels, and the following year he was awarded the prestigious Naumburg Prize.
He was named the Boston Symphony's concertmaster in 1962, and he held that position
for twenty-two years, often appearing with the orchestra as a soloist and, since
1971, serving as assistant conductor. In 1964 he founded and became music director
of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players.
In 1980 Silverstein became music director of the Worcester (Massachusetts)
Symphony Orchestra, and he served as principal guest conductor of the Baltimore
Symphony Orchestra from 1981 until 1983, when he was appointed music director
of the Utah Symphony. He held that position until 1998, when he was made conductor
laureate. "As a conductor," Silverstein has remarked, "I try
to provide the players with what I feel I needed from the conductor when I was
in the orchestra." He is chairman of the faculty of the Tanglewood Music
Center and since 1972 has held posts as associate professor of music, first
at Yale University and later at Boston University. Silverstein has been awarded
honorary degrees by numerous American universities and conservatories.