Israeli violin master Ivry Gitlis died at the age of 98 on Christmas Eve (local time) at a nursing home in Paris, according to The Washington Post.
Gitlis was born to Jewish parents of Ukrainian descent in 1922 in Haifa, an Israeli port city which then was part of British territory. Starting playing the violin at six, he came to know legendary Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman and entered the National Superior Conservatory of Paris for Music and Dance. After the Second World War broke out, he joined the British Air Force in 1940 to play the violin in the military band. He earned reputation after the end of war by collaborating with world-famous orchestras such as London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Well-known as the oldest living and practicing violinist in the world, Gitlis continued his career even after turning 90. He visited South Korea twice - in 1994 and 2014. Asked during his latest visit to South Korea about his secret to staying enthusiastic about being on stage even at an old age, he likened playing the violin to breathing by explaining that he could not stop playing just as he breathed at all times.