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This Day in UMS: Jascha Heifetz

Editor’s Note: “This day in UMS History” is an occasional series of vignettes drawn from UMS’s historical archive. If you have a personal story or particular memory from attending the performance featured here, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.

March 14, 1951: Jascha Heifetz in Hill Auditorium


Photo: Charles and Alva Gordon Sink. 

We love this photo of first UMS president Charles Sink and his wife Alva Gordon Sink and a promotional sandwich board featuring Russian violinist Jascha Heifetz’s 1951 performance in Ann Arbor.

He first performed in Ann Arbor in 1919, at age 18. He was already a sensation. He was also, as Charles Sink Remembered, “a normal boy interested in everything before him.” Touring the campus before the concert Heifetz wanted to see the medical school, asking, “Do they cut up bodies, and can one see them?” Sink arranged to take him to the anatomy lab, where Heifetz watched intently, asking many questions. To Sink’s relief, the medical students “refrained from their usual practice of dropping stray toes” or other body parts into the pockets of an unwary visitor.

Heifetz returned for many concerts and he always mentioned his Michigan “medical course.”