"Jascha Heifetz (1901-1987) was a violinist, born in Vilnius, then Russian Empire, now Lithuania. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest violinists of all time.

Kreisler, after accompanying the 12-year-old Heifetz at the piano in a performance of the Mendelssohn concerto, said to all present, 'We may as well break our fiddles across our knees'. Heifetz visited much of Europe while still in his teens. In April 1911, Heifetz performed in an outdoor concert in St. Petersburg before 25,000 spectators; there was such a sensational reaction that police officers needed to protect the young violinist after the concert. In 1914, Heifetz performed with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Arthur Nikisch. The conductor was very impressed, saying he had never heard such an excellent violinist.

Heifetz is considered to be one of the finest violinists of all time. Heifetz's technical command of his instrument - his physical ability to play the violin with stunning precision - is regarded by many critics as unequaled. That physical control enabled Heifetz to produce a distinctive tone quality, intense and shimmering, that came to be regarded as his trademark. Yet, from time to time his near-perfect technique and conservative stage demeanor caused some critics to accuse him of being overly mechanical, even cold. Virgil Thomson called Heifetz's style of playing 'silk underwear music', a term he did not intend as a compliment. Other critics argue that he infused his playing with feeling and reverence for the composers' intentions. His style of playing was highly influential in defining the way modern violinists approach the instrument. His use of rapid vibrato, emotionally charged portamento, fast tempos, and superb bow control coalesced to create a highly distinctive sound that make Heifetz's playing instantly recognizable to aficionados. The violinist Itzhak Perlman, who himself is noted for his rich warm tone and expressive use of portamento, describes Heifetz's tone as like "a tornado" because of its emotional intensity."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jascha_Heifetz