Isaac Stern with Big Bird on Sesame Street

Isaac Stern with Big Bird on Sesame Street

Isaac Stern (1920-2001) was a world-renowned violinist. Setting the stage for Big Bird's special three years later, Stern proved that Nixon wasn't the only one who could go to China in his 1980 Oscar-winning documentary, From Mao To Mozart. Itzhak Perlman and Yo Yo Ma are amongst those he's mentored.


  • Stern guest starred in Sesame Street Episode 2658. In one scene, he plays "Follow the Fiddler" with Big Bird and the Kids in the Arbor. The kids are instructed to follow whatever it is he plays on the violin: the March from Sergei Prokofiev's The Love for Three Oranges (the kids march around), "Schön Rosmarin (Lovely Rosemary)" from Fritz Kreisler's Alt-Wiener Tanzweisen (a waltz), the second movement of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto (the kids quietly listen), and the Prokofiev march again to finish.
  • Stern later appeared with Elmo, both playing violins, during the "Sing" celebrity montage for season 31.


  • In a mock break-out quote on the back of the 1977 Sesame Street album Big Bird Leads the Band, Stern is one of several music personalities spoofed with bird names. Violinist Isaac Tern (the same mispronunciation Big Bird uses in his appearance on the show) says "I haven't taken it off my terntable since I got it."

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