Remembrance Of A Great Man
who died silently
Copyright Vladimir Kagan January 22. 2015
David Josefowitz 1918 - 2015
The measure of a man is not his size. He can be a giant and bumble through life with open eyes and do nothing. He can be blind and see more than his sighted neighbor. He can be decimated by Alzheimer, existing within a silent shell, where there still might linger the remains of the genius that once was. Now, there is nothing left but the music swirling in his head - his useful hand conducting the orchestra that once was his voice. Communication left him years ago. “No” was the only word that stayed with him to the end. Why “NO”? Perhaps it was the last remnant of self-expression?
You may not recognize the name David Josefowitz, but he was one of those giants. While doing his doctorate in Chemistry at MIT, David invented the formula that gave us vinyl LP records. If you joined a classical music Club you were likely a member of Concert Hall Society or Guild International Du Disque –anyplace in the world– Again a brainchild of David. Together with his brother Sam, they created the Vitamin Club of the Month. David did not invent the Book of the Month Club, but if you were a child studying your homework from flash-cards sent to you on a monthly basis, you benefitted from yet another creation of David and Sam’s. If you lived in Europe, you surely bought books from Editions Rencontre, one of Europe’s preeminent publishing houses. Yes – David and Sam’s creations. If you lived in London, were a music enthusiast and went to concerts of the London Soloists Chamber Orchestra. The founder and conductor was David Josefowitz. He created this unique orchestra to give young gifted musicians from all over the world, an opportunity to perform as soloist. If you studied music at London’s Royal Academy, chances are you did it in the David Josefowitz Hall. When young promising ensembles or soloists wanted to borrow great string instruments David organized the lending of them.
David was married to my sister Tanya. For 65 years they spent their lives collecting art… while other entrepreneurs amassed real estate in the Hamptons and fancy watering holes in Europe, Tanya and David sagaciously bought art; not any art but selectively; The Fauves, French Impressionists and Cubists, and with an expert eye, a discriminating collection of old masters. Their collection is world-class and is generously loaned to institutions around the world.
When David finally retired, Queen Elisabeth, in appreciation for his contribution to music and art in England, bestowed the honor of a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) on him.
David knew that he had Alzheimer and for the comfort of his family returned to live the remainder of his life in Switzerland, where so many of his children and extended family lived.
David Josefowitz died quietly on January 10th in the arms of his wife and surrounded by his family – He was 96 year old.