Jascha Heifetz, widely regarded as one of the greatest performing artists of all time, was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, which was then occupied by Russia, on February 2, 1901.. He began playing the violin at the age of two. He took his first lessons from his father Ruvin, and entered the local music school in Vilna at the age of five where he studied with Ilya Malkin. He made his first public appearance in a student recital there in December 1906, and made his formal public debut at the age of eight in the nearby city of Kaunas (then known as Kovno, Lithuania). With only brief sabbaticals, he performed in public for the next 65 years, establishing an unparalleled standard to which violinists around the world still aspire.