Stern Autographs at Coop

As Isaac Stern autographed copies of his record albums at the Harvard Coop Saturday, a child beamed and said proudly, "I play the violin."

Stern held out his hand and said, "So do I, once in a while. I try."

The two-time Grammy award winner, who began his career as a violinist at the age of 11 with the San Francisco Symphony, performed yesterday in a sold-out solo recital at Boston Symphony Hall.

When asked which recording he considers his best. Stern replied immediately. "the next one."

Stern said his record sales have remained steady in the past few years, adding, "that's why classical music is so important today. It's not a fad--it's a way of life."

"Classical music has become more important in our times because there are more people involved in it." Stern said. He added, "It's become as important as any part of civilized life."

The violinist criticized today's popular music. "Every six months it's something different--either punk, hunk, stunk or bunk," Stern said.

Stern has performed with major orchestras in the U.S. and in Europe. He has also appeared with several university orchestras "where they are sufficiently advanced," Stern said.