May the legacy of Mark's unmatched passion for life and music live on through all those who he so profoundly impacted.
  • 93 years old
  • Born on June 13, 1924 in Odessa, Ukraine.
  • Passed away on February 5, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois, United States.

Professor Mark Zinger, the much loved violin soloist and pedagogue, passed away on February 5th in his adopted second home of Chicago, IL. Service information is below. We kindly request you add a personal note and picture of your greatest memories of Mark to share with all his beloved students, family, and friends. 

We have created the Mark Zinger Foundation in his memory. The Foundation will be dedicated to sustaining the legacy of Mark Zinger, the eminent and much-loved violin soloist and pedagogue. It will primarily be providing financial and other forms of support for future generations of motivated and talented violinists pursuing professional careers in performance and/or teaching—violinists who embody the dedication, passion for music and life, and compassion of Professor Zinger. In lieu of flowers we will be sending a link this week for a tax free donation in his honor. 


Wednesday, February 7th - 1PM – Weinstein & Piser Funeral Home - 111 Skokie Blvd, Wilmette, IL 60091


Wednesday, February 7th - 2:30PM – Memorial Park Cemetery - 9900 Gross Point Rd, Skokie, IL 60076 

Family visiting

Wednesday, February 7th – 5PM- 9PM – 7061 N. Kedzie, Unit 1116, Chicago, IL 60645

Thursday, February 8th – 12PM- 8PM – 7061 N. Kedzie, Unit 1116, Chicago, IL 60645

Mark Zinger Legacy

Mark's life was a wonderful journey that touched thousands of lives through music. Born in 1924 in Odessa, Ukraine to parents with no formal education, he quickly was recognized for his natural talents and was accepted to the renown Pyotr Stolyarsky School for Gifted Children. Having an astigmatism from early childhood that made it difficult to read, Mark developed a unique capacity to quickly memorize music. The school's special pedagogical method was the foundation that would later propel Mark to becoming one of the most recognized violinists of his generation in Ukraine. 

After graduating the program Mark patriotically enlisted in the Army to defend his country against the oncoming Nazi invasion. It was this same vision challenge with ironically disqualified him from the front line where all members of Mark’s potential troop perished. He was a soloist in the local military orchestra building up morale. During one particular concert a member of the audience lost consciousness and they called the paramedics. First on the scene was Lubov Rein, who Mark immediately fell in love with and they were married for 67 glorious years until she passed in 2013. 

Upon returning home after the war Mark looked to continue his education and musical training. He spent an extensive time in Moscow playing as a soloist and even performing for multiple soundtracks for many Russian films. He returned home to Odessa to support his parents and start a family. He graduated from the Odessa Conservatoire and through an extension program a he received a Masters degree in musical history from Moscow University writing a dissertation on the Mighty Five Russian composers of the 19th century (Moguchaya Kuchka).

During his illustrious soloist and teaching career in Odessa Mark was one of the most prolific performers in the country. From 1951 until his immigration in 1979, Mark successfully gave over 2,500 live performances as the lead soloist for the Odessa Symphony, a member of a quartet, radio performances, and performances throughout the entire former Soviet Union as a recognized distinguished artist of Odessa. Mark’s work ethic and commitment to excellence created a professional schedule that was hard to match. For almost three decades he performed at least eight live performances a month, was a full time faculty member at the Conservatoire, a part time faculty at another musical college, and taught private students at home. A fiercely devoted family man, even with his exhausting commitments Mark would visit his parents daily and made sure he was a loving and active parent to his daughter Larisa.

With the continued challenges for Russian Jewry and the rate opportunity to leave Ukraine for greater challenges, Mark and his entire family immigrated to the United States in 1979. At the age of 55, when most musicians would contemplate considering retirement, Mark was forced to start a brand new career with no money, connections, and practically no understanding of the English language. True to his unwavering desire to achieve success, he took any opportunity to play including private events and public concerts. Mark quickly immersed himself in the Chicago musical community and realized that his traditional Russian method of teaching would quickly resonate with talented and motivated young performers. He developed a strong following at the Lehnhoff School of Music and Dance in Hyde Park, Music Institute of Chicago, American Conservatory of Music, and Northwestern University. Eventually Mark found his greatest success and achievement as a member of the Depaul University School of Music. Achieving tenure in less than four years, Mark was an active and vibrant member of the faculty drawing in international students and teachers to help significantly raise the national level of recognition of the program. Mark’s distinguished three decade career at Depaul ended with being named professor emeritus.

Mark was also highly regarded for his accomplishments at music teaching festivals, master classes, and as a private teacher. Under his tutelage several students won major competitions throughout the world. Mark’s immense teaching legacy includes former students as members of the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Orchestra, among others. Over 50 of his students have successfully created careers domestically and internationally as soloists or teachers.

The greatest impact made by Mark was his contagious passion for life, music, and hard work. His commitment to his students far exceeded a simple interest in how they performed. Every student was treated like family with the deepest level of connections and compassion. Every interaction was a lesson as much about life as to the technical aspects of playing the violin. He meticulously followed the lives of each student and was genuinely overjoyed by their personal accomplishments.

Although challenged with several physical ailments Mark continued to teach at home until the last few months before his passing. He always demonstrated an unparalleled resolved to push ahead and be the example of a strong willed and dedicated person. He will be deeply missed by all those he touched though his music and inspiration.

Mark is survived by his daughter Larisa Zhizhin and grandson Igor Zhizhin. 

Posted by Sister Marie-Therese Swie... on 12th March 2018
I am heartbroken to hear of the passing of my beloved violin professor, Mark Zinger. I graduated from DePaul in 1991 and have kept in touch with him since then. All of my students know about him and about his violinistic heritage. He called us his "children." Mr. Zinger is SO loved and will NEVER be forgotten. I'm currently teaching violin at a college in southeastern Illinois and will try my best to pass all that he taught.
Posted by Savely Schuster on 11th February 2018
Mark's passing made a huge void in my life. I have known him since my days at the conservatory in Odessa where he was not only famous for his teaching and playing but as a creator of famous conservatory satirical reviews known as Kapustniks. Later I came to know him as a musician much closer when I had joined The Odessa Piano Trio. I will never forget our rehearsals and tours all around the Country. He was such a joy to be around, with his unmatched sense of humor and wit that was even outstanding in Odessa where humor was part of one's gene. I learned so much from his unparalleled knowledge of music of which he had an absolute taste. Our friendship and my great affection for him continued in this country. I had no doubt that he we'll succeed. Although he was 55 when he immigrated, the age not exactly the best to start from zero, he did it, and did it with distinction. How proud was I of my friend! It is painful to believe that we will no longer have our rare meetings and long phone conversations. An enormous part of my life has ended. With all my love, Savely (Sevchik) Schuster
Posted by Ross Beacraft on 10th February 2018
Mark Zinger was on of the finest men I have ever know. His legacy will live on in the hearts and music of those to whom he gave so much.
Posted by Tatiana Migliaccio on 9th February 2018
Every day when I pick up my violin, I will always hear Mark Borisovich's words, '' Don't knock your fingers too hard on the fingerboard" or "Connect your notes better" or "Don't wait 5 minutes to shift!" During my lessons, he would also say, "Tatiana sing!'' so we would then sing Ukrainian folk songs which I then played on the violin. Once he said, "You have to play like you're singing from your heart," while placing his hand over his. Mark Borisovich had a big wonderful heart. And in his heart was enormous love for his family, country and students! Thank you my dear Mark Borisovich for every violin lesson that you gave me. My heart is crying so much but will keep the unforgettable memories forever. Rest in peace, Your Tatiana and student for 20 years
Posted by Judy Bundra on 8th February 2018
Mark Zinger was one of the finest people I've ever known. He was the consummate teacher, musician, and friend. Mark transformed the lives of countless of students at DePaul, and I will always grateful for his kindness to me. Through his example and his wise words, I learned so much about music, leadership, teaching, and family, and I will always carry the lessons he has taught me throughout my life. With Mark's passing, the world lost a great one, and I lost a dear colleague and friend. I will be thinking of his family throughout this difficult time.
Posted by Roman Khmaladze on 8th February 2018
Все , кто знал Марка Борисовича Зингера глубоко скорбят об его кончине ,-ведь с его уходом из жизни закончилась славная страница в отечественной культурологической истории известная как "Одесская скрипичная школа " . Его преподавательская деятельность разделилась на два периода .- Одесский и Американский и надо признать оба достаточно успешных , что почти не имеет прецедентов. Только те , кто прошел жуткий период адаптации к незнакомой и зачастую враждебной среде , способны оценить умение Марка Борисовича приспособиться к новым непривычным условиям работы и повернуть их в свою пользу! Будучи выдающимся знатоком классической музыки , а также имея громадный опыт и понимание скрипичного исполнительства Марк Борисович создал свой неповторимый стиль преподавания , который блестяще оправдал себя как в Одессе так и в Чикаго ! Отступив от ложных постулатов " социалистического " метода обучения . когда перед студентом воздвигают " горы трудностей " которые необходимо преодолеть и на этом преодолении препятствий и себя лично , достичь новых профессиональных высот Марк Борисович , умеющий трезво оценить ситуацию , находил альтернативные пути , торпинки, по которым можно было достичь мастерства без " сломанных ног и падений в пропасть " ! Понимая , что гениальные студенты- скрипачи попадаются не чаще , чем брильянты на пляже Ланжерон , Марк Борисович создал такую систему воспитания и образования студентов , при которой все без исключения получали солидную профессиональную подгоровку , позволяющую им успешно работать в оркестрах любого уровня при сохранении нормальной психики и устойчивого эмоционального состояния. Эта же стратегия позволила ему успешно преподавать в Новом Свете , где его методика нашла многочисленных сторонников и последователей . Отсутствие таких людей, как мистер М Б Зингер в Одессе ощущается до сих пор в виде вакуума в области преподавания скрипки и падению общего исполнительского уровня . Остается только глубоко сожалеть о том, что трдиции сприпичного искусства от Пермана, Столярского, Лемберского, Зингера прервались окончательно и безвозвратно.
Posted by Tom Vos on 7th February 2018
I am so very saddened by Mr. Zinger's passing and also that I cannot be in attendance at his funeral this afternoon. I will be with you in spirit as I teach private lessons all afternoon and evening... honoring Mr. Zinger by continuing to pass on the wonderful gifts he shared with me during our time together at DePaul (1988-1993). A few of my favorite stories/memories with Mr. Zinger: - My freshman year "bootcamp" - scales, double stops, etc. - Boy, did I dislike it at that time, but Mr. Zinger brought my playing level WAY up and I'm forever grateful! (I don't think I would have been nearly as prepared for my professional career without Mr. Zinger's "bootcamp!") - Violin choir... playing the beautiful harmonies/arrangements of "Peter and the Wolf" and many other pieces. Also, performing Paganini's entire "Moto Perpetuo" as the encore at the annual Symphony Orchestra concert in Orchestra Hall. (Mr. Zinger was so pleased with our accomplishment, both individually and collectively!) - My senior recital. Breaking a string during the second movement of the Saint-Saens. I was so frazzled I could barely hold it together... Mr. Zinger met me in the classroom next to the recital hall and calmed me down while changing my string for me. I don't think I could have finished my recital without him being there for me. - Mr. Zinger's incredible patience and support ... even when I told him I wanted to play "Violin Phase" by Steve Reich on my senior recital! (He let me be me!!) Thank you Mr. Zinger for everything! (I am indebited to you as you gave me so much!!) My love and prayers to Mr. Zinger's family and friends... Tom Vos

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