BY DEBBIE DIAMOND / AJT //

Before he brought the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra audience to their feet in thunderous applause in late January, violin soloist Vadim Gluzman paid a special visit to Greenfield Hebrew Academy (GHA) to entertain a much younger group of fans.

Vadim Gluzman (center) with Bella Cantor and Ari Stark. PHOTO / GHA

Vadim Gluzman (center) with Bella Cantor and Ari Stark. PHOTO / GHA

Gluzman, who has played with such orchestras as the Israel Philharmonic and London Symphony, has received critical acclaim from classical music aficionados throughout the world. Before his local debut with the ASO, he found time in between rehearsals to speak and perform before GHA’s fourth- through eighth-graders.

Arriving with his 1690 “ex-Leopold Auer” Stradivarius violin in hand, Gluzman spoke about his life in the former U.S.S.R., his classical music training and making aliyah as a teen. Listening with rapt attention, students were engaged and curious about Gluzman’s life and work.

“He was amazing,” said an animated Noam Laufer, who asked many questions during the presentation. “He must have practiced a lot to get to where he is now.”

The humorous, good-natured presenter answered the student’s many questions, joked and played excerpts from classical concertos – as well as jazz – delighting students with the improvisational bow style used in the latter genre.

“The opportunity for our students to hear from and meet with artists at the pinnacle of their craft is an important part of our three C’s – Curiosity, Commitment and Community, that we practice at GHA,” said Franeen Sarif, assistant principal and director of the GHA Middle School. “Our students were in awe and captivated by Mr. Gluzman’s stories, candor, accessibility and extreme talent. I heard from several students that this will definitely be one of those moments they will cherish forever.”

The program opened with performances by middle school students Bella Cantor and Ari Stark, who played “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Hatikvah.” Both students indicated they were inspired and motivated by the presentation.

In fact, as Stark left the school’s performing arts theatre, he summed up the sentiments of many students when he said;

“It was really cool to see Mr. Gluzman go crazy with the violin.”

In middle school-speak, that’s a great review for an outstanding performance by Vadim Gluzman.