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Howard Taubman, reviewing the violinist Camilla Wicks’s New York admission at Town Hall in The New York Times in 1942, had to accept that she had “a assertive ability for the fiddle.” He was abnormally afflicted by her administration of difficult passages in the Paganini D above Concerto, a assignment acute an affluence of abstruse skill.
By the way, Ms. Wicks at the time was, as the review’s aperture book noted, “a pretty, blanched damsel of thirteen and a half.”
She had already been impressing West Coast audiences for years, accepting fabricated her admission with an orchestra at age 7 in Long Beach. But she was no flash-in-the-pan prodigy whose abilities don’t advance with age. Eleven years afterwards that New York debut, by again in her mid-20s, she played Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, and alike the orchestra’s musicians were impressed.
“The Larghetto was abnormally fine,” the Times analysis said, “for actuality her arena was so absent and serene that it absolutely justified her almighty apathetic tempo. The men of the orchestra abutting with the admirers in the affable applause.”
Ms. Wicks had blossomed from prodigy into one of the finest violinists of her time, and she was amid the few women in that era to achieve bulge as a violin soloist. After she became a admired teacher.
She died on Nov. 25 in Weston, Fla., at the home of her babe Lise-Marie Thomas Wertanzl, area she had been active for some months. She was 92. Ms. Thomas Wertanzl said Ms. Wicks had apprenticed Covid-19 in April and had been ailing for 42 canicule but had been testing abrogating for the virus afore her death.
Camilla Delores Wicks was built-in on Aug. 9, 1928, into a agreeable family. Her father, Ingwald, was a violinist, and her mother, Ruby (Dawson Stone) Wicks, was a pianist.
A adventures on her website said that she had asked for a violin at 3½ and was arena Vivaldi’s A accessory Concerto from anamnesis at 4. Her ancestor was her aboriginal abecedary and accustomed her congenital talent; at 10 she was beatific to the Juilliard School in New York to abstraction with the acclaimed abecedary Louis Persinger, who was her accompanist at her Town Hall concert in 1942.
Camilla played the Hollywood Bowl in 1946 while still in her adolescence and was heard frequently on the radio in the years afterwards World War II. In 1952 she recorded the Sibelius Violin Concerto, an estimation that has been admired anytime since.
She affiliated Robert Thomas in the aboriginal 1950s, and the aboriginal of their bristles accouchement was built-in in 1953. For a time she was able to administer the demands of actuality both a mother and a able musician.
“I was consistently arena with one of my accouchement central of me,” she said in a 2017 account with the bargain armpit Tarisio, which that year awash the Arthur Smith violin she had played for a bisected aeon for $84,000. “I was abundant with my aboriginal babe for the Beethoven Violin Concerto at Carnegie Hall, and again I connected back I was abundant with my son, and so on.”
In an 1987 account with Louise Cavanaugh Sciannameo that the music armpit the Strad appear recently, Ms. Wicks abundant on the acclimation act.
“I don’t anticipate the adversity of accepting a career, marrying, and adopting accouchement will anytime be solved,” she said. “I didn’t cartel acquaint administration back I was pregnant. It was so hard. I wore appropriate dresses and abstruse how to airing so I didn’t attending pregnant.”
Eventually, in the backward 1950s, she stepped abroad from assuming for a time, alike affairs her admired instrument, a 1725 Stradivarius. But she alternate to arena occasionally. Her online adventures recounts that in the aboriginal 1970s, back she acclimatized in Washington accessory and accomplished at Wenatchee Valley College, she would sometimes comedy with a abecedarian association orchestra there. In a afterthought appear in The Wenatchee World, the newspaper’s administrator emeritus, Rufus Woods, said that the orchestra’s conductor, not acumen who she was, had at aboriginal sat her in the additional violin section.
But Ms. Wicks performed in her after years with able groups like the Detroit Symphony, as able-bodied as overseas, abnormally in Scandinavia. She accomplished at the University of Michigan, Rice University and the Eastman School of Music.
Ms. Wicks fabricated few recordings but acquired a new acknowledgment amid classical music aficionados in 2015 with the absolution of “Camilla Wicks: Bristles Decades of Treasured Performances,” a six-CD accumulating of alive recordings.
In the Tarisio interview, she recalled the difficulties she had as a woman in the male-dominated acreage of classical music.
“I was one of the few women who bankrupt through to comedy in the big leagues,” she said, “and some of the conductors were absolutely absolutely afflicted about it. I won’t name names, but one of them was not afterward me on purpose and was a bisected admeasurement abaft me the accomplished time. I didn’t apperceive again to clip myself to the adamant conductor’s accompaniment. That would accept been the answer, but I went advanced and played my speed!”
Her alliance to Mr. Thomas concluded in divorce. Her son Philip Thomas died in 2011, and her son Paul Thomas died in 2017. In accession to Ms. Wertanzl, she is survived by addition daughter, Angela Thomas Jeffrey; a son, Erik Thomas; and three grandchildren.
In the account appear posthumously by the Strad, Ms. Wicks reflected on the role of music.
“We charge article that is activity to accompany us hope,” she said. “All music can achieve this. The greatest of pieces are those that say, ‘Yes, this is terrible, but there is hope.’”
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