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Eugene Fodor (Violinist)
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    (March 5, 1950-February 26, 2011)
    Born in Denver, Colorado
    Won first prize in the Paganini Competition (1972)
    With two other violinists, shared top honors in the International Tchaikovsky Competition (1974)
    Appeared over a dozen times on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson
    He shared a name with the author of the Fodor travel guides.
    He is often described as winning the Tchaikovsky Competition, but technically he tied for second, with no first place award being given.
    Critics accused him of only being interested in pieces that let him show off his pyrotechnics.
    He was arrested for breaking and entering into a hotel on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts (1989).
    During the bust, cocaine and heroin were found on his person.
    He offered his 300-year-old violin to the court in place of bail money. (The judge declined and released him on his own recognizance.)
    He married, divorced, and remarried Susan Davis.
    He died of liver disease after years of heavy drinking.
    He made his debut as a soloist with the Denver Symphony Orchestra at age 10.
    His parents forbade him from dating as a teen, because it would have taken time away from practicing.
    He was the first American violinist to win a prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition, leading to comparisons with Van Cliburn, the first American pianist to win at the competition.
    He was the featured performer at President Gerald Ford’s first White House state dinner.
    He posed shirtless for beefcake photos. (An offer not extended to too many classical musicians.)
    His looks and flamboyance got him dubbed ‘the Mick Jagger of classical music.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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