Remaining faithful to the memory of Adolf Busch and loyal to Rudolf Serkin, Istomin took part in the Marlboro Music School and Festival as often as he could. His involvement in the Prades Festival and his close relationship with Casals prevented him from coming in the early 1950s. In the 1960s and 1970s, his summer residences and participation in the European and Israel festivals, as a soloist or a member of the Trio, diverted him from Malboro, even though he endeavored to visit every year for a few days. He eventually spent six summers there, in 1957, 58, 59, 61, 84 and 85.
Eugene Istomin did not entirely condone the evolution of Marlboro’s principles or behaviour. He thought that if Busch had lived longer and had continued to manage the project, the atmosphere would have been different, in any case more professorial. Gary Graffman, who went for the first time in 1952, corroborates that feeling in his book I Really Should Be Practicing: ”Contrary to the Marlboro of later years – the Marlboro which became ‘a community of equals’ (with some, certainly, more equal than others), and which fostered no clean delineation between faculty and students – the Marlboro of early times was definitely a place where students learned from faculty.” Istomin would have also preferred that the situation remained as it had been. Nevertheless, he was always very pleased to play with talented young musicians and to join some of his closest friends who were the mainstays of Marlboro, like Claude Frank and Lilian Kallir, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, Madeline Foley, or Sasha Schneider.
Concerts in Marlboro
July 21, 1957. Beethoven, Sonata No. 21 “Waldstein”. Mozart. Quartet K. 493. Si-Hon Ma, violin; Elizabeth Philips, viola; Madeline Foley, cello.
August 17, 1957. Brahms, Trio Opus 114. Harold Wright, clarinet; Madeline Foley, cello.
July 26, 1958. Mozart, Concerto K. 271. Marlboro Festival Orchestra. Alexander Schneider.
July 27, 1958. Brahms, Trio Opus 87. Gilda Muhlbauer, violin; Frances Steiner, cello.
August 22, 1958. Brahms, Trio Opus 8 & Trio Opus 101. Erick Friedman violin; Madeline Foley, cello.
August 8, 1959. Beethoven, Trio Opus 1 No. 2. Gilda Muhlbauer, violin; Ann Goodman, cello.
July 29, 1961. Ravel, Trio. Arnold Steinhardt, violin; Madeline Foley, cello.
July 28, 1984. Beethoven, Quintet Opus 16. Kathleen Golding, oboe; Theresa Tunicliff, clarinet; Nancy Goeres, bassoon; Robin Graham, horn. Recorded concert.
August 4, 1984. Brahms, Quintet Opus 34. Todd Phillips, violin; Laura Hamilton, violin; Ewan Wilson, viola; Peter Wiley, cello. Recorded concert.
July 31, 1985. Brahms, Trio Opus 8. Joseph Genualdi, violin; Peter Wiley, cello. Recorded concert.
August 4, 1985. Mozart, Quartet K. 493. Sigrún Eðvaldsdóttir, violin; Meredith Snow, viola; Julia Lichten, cello. Recorded concert.
Mozart. Quartet in E flat major K. 493, second movement. Sigrún Eðvaldsdóttir, violin. Meredith Snow, viola. Julia Lichten, cello. Marlboro, August 4, 1985.