Jerusalem who began studying piano and violin at three years of age, but
gravitated toward the latter when he was seven and had performed the
“Fantasy in D minor” of Mozart by the age of nine.
He applied for
Julliard but was too young and wound up going to the Institute of Musical
Art instead, where his teacher was Constance Seeger, mother of Pete. She encouraged him to enroll into Walden
School, which he did for a short time, then dropped out. He spent about a year off and then
returned to school when he was old enough to attend Julliard.
He had an
epiphany when he heard William Primrose, the renowned violist, performing a
pair of caprices by Nicolo Paganini. It captured his imagination and he
immediately set to work transcribing all twenty-four caprices for the
who was first viola with the NBC Symphony Orchestra, passed his name along
to Arturo Toscanini, and he offered him an audition. After only playing a couple of
notes, Emanuel was hired.
tour of duty in World War II, Emanuel pursued another one of his
passions: Art. It was something he had always
dabbled in but it took a back seat to his music. In Italy, he had a chance to study
some of the masters. Music,
however, always came first. If
it hadn’t, he might not have recorded his version of the 24 Caprices
and established himself as a valuable session musician in the 1960s. Not only was he adept at classical
music: He was equally at home
as part of the string section on Louis
Armstong and His Friends or The Other Side of Abbey Road by
By the 1970s,
he was in demand in the recording studio, laying down tracks for the likes
of Hank Crawford, Deodato, Faith, Hope &
Charity, Maynard Ferguson, Bob James, Van McCoy, Idris
Muhammad, Jaco Pastorius,
Esther Phillips, Lalo Schifrin, Don Sebesky, Nina Simone, Stanley Turrentine,
and Grover Washington, Jr.
He even recorded with The Muppets on Big Bird’s Birdtime Stories. One of his later recordings is Forever, For Always, For Love, by
In 1993, he
injured his wrist when he tripped at a construction site, and had to wear a
cast. Another unfortunate spill
on snow-covered ice ended up with him tearing his rotator cuff. His music career was over.
Emanuel, he could still paint.
The devastation of losing one huge part of his life was somewhat
cushioned by the opportunity to devote himself solely to his art, an
opportunity he may never have had otherwise. He is no dilettante, either. His paintings have won prizes, been
critically acclaimed, and even, in some cases, been commissioned.
One of his
specialties is painting musicians.
He paints in a cubist style like Picasso and portrays the musicians
as they might look in various stages of performing. In this final stage of his career,
Emanuel can be found wielding a paintbrush instead of a viola, literally
adding color to music.
Van McCoy recordings
The Shuffle (Van McCoy)
That’s the Joint (Richard Harris/Van McCoy)