Igor Oistrakh is one of the more important violinists to emerge from the mid-20th century USSR, despite being largely overshadowed by his famous father, violinist David Oistrakh. Igor often partnered his father in duo repertory ranging from J.S. Bach and Mozart to Prokofiev and Ysaÿe. But the younger Oistrakh also struck out his own path as a soloist and recitalist in a broad range of repertory by J.S. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Bruch, Khrennikov, and others. Like his father he also played the viola and conducted. In addition, Igor Oistrakh has been active as a teacher for most of his career and has made numerous recordings, available from EMI, Berlin Classics, DG, and Melodiya.
Igor Oistrakh was born in Odessa, Ukraine, on April 27, 1931. His father was his first teacher, but during the early war years he abandoned studies on violin. Igor resumed studies in 1943, with Pyotr Stolyarsky, and later enrolled at Moscow's Central Music School.
From 1947, Igor Oistrakh regularly began appearing in duo concerts with his father. Igor made his official debut as soloist in 1948, and the following year won the Budapest-based World Festival of Youth and Students Violin Competition. That same year Oistrakh enrolled at the Moscow Conservatory, remaining until 1955.
Oistrakh was busy concertizing during his student years, even taking time in 1952 to win the International Wieniawski Competition in Poznan, Poland. In 1958 he joined the faculty at the Moscow Conservatory, while continuing to steadily build a successful career in chamber, solo and recital performance. From 1968, he began conducting. Though his father died in 1974, Igor Oistrakh continued making duo appearances with his wife Natalia Zertsalova, a talented pianist. Together the two would make distinguished recordings on the Melodiya label of all the Beethoven sonatas for violin and piano, as well as works by J.S. Bach, Prokofiev, and many others.
In 1996 Oistrakh accepted the post of professor of violin at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels. In the new century Oistrakh has remained active as a performer, often appearing with his wife, as well as his son, Valeri, who is also a talented violinist. Among Igor Oistrakh's more acclaimed recordings is the Mozart Sinfonia concertante and other works, on the Doron label (2001). Here, partnered with his son Valeri, Igor conducts the orchestra and also plays the viola in the featured work and in two chamber pieces.