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  • Earthling 3:28 pm on June 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Master pianist, , Student of Heinrich Neuhaus, Sviatoslav Richter, Ultimate pianist   

    Sviatoslav Richter 

    Sviatoslav Teofilovich Richter (Born March 20, 1915 in Zhitomir, Ukraine – Died August 1, 1997 in Moscow, Russia) was a Russian pianist of German descent who is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. He played a wide repertoire and is noted especially for his performances of Bach, Schumann, Schubert, Liszt, Prokofiev, and Mussorgsky.


    Richter was born in Zhitomir and raised in Odessa, both cities in the Ukraine. His father, Teofil Danovich Richter, was a German organist and pianist. Richter learned the basics of music from his father, but he was largely self-taught. He had exceptional sight-reading abilities and showcased this at local operas and ballets. He joined the Odessa Opera at the Odessa Conservatory at age 15. He also had an early interest in the other arts, such as painting, literature, and theatre, and he occupied himself with composition as well. By 1935, he had become fully devoted to the piano.

    Richter’s first public recital was at the engineer club in Odessa in 1934. Three years later, he sought out the famed teacher and pianist Heinrich Neuhaus, who taught at the Moscow Conservatory. Neuhaus was very impressed by Richter’s playing. He is reported to have called Richter “the genius pupil I’ve been waiting for all my life”, and also commented that he “had nothing to teach him”.

    In 1940, Richter debuted in Moscow with a performance of Prokofiev’s 6th sonata. A year later, his German father was arrested and executed by the Soviet authorities under accusations of being a spy.

    In 1945, Richter met the soprano singer Nina Dorliac. They performed together and she became his lifelong companion. The exact nature of their relationship is unclear, and they never married.

    In 1949, Richter won the Stalin Prize.. In 1952, Richter played the role of Franz Liszt in the film The Composer Glinka, based on the life of he famous early Russian composer Mikhail Glinka. He also conducted for the first and last time for the world premiere of Prokofiev’s Symphony-Concerto for Cello and Orchestra.

    Over the 1940s and 1950s, Richter toured Eastern Europe (Bucharest, Prague, Budapest, Sofia, Warsaw), the USSR, and China. Then in 1960, Richter began touring Western countries. First he toured Finland, then the US. He had previously been introduced to the West through recordings and praise from Emil Gilels, among others. In 1961, he toured England and France as well. He was well-received in the West as in the East.

    In 1963, Richter established the Grange de Meslay music festival in France.

    In 1970, a performance by Richter accompanied by David Oistrakh was disrupted by anti-Soviet protesters. Richter vowed never to return to the US. The same year, he toured Japan for the first time. He would return seven times.

    In 1981, Richter started the December Nights international music festival, which was and continues to be held in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.

    Richter died from a heart attack in Moscow in 1997, at age 82. He never married and left behind no children.

    Musical Style and Legacy

    Richter’s approach to pianism involved respecting the composer’s intentions as much as possible. He played a great variety of pieces from different composers, periods, and styles. He is particularly known for his interpretations of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Schumann, Schubert, Liszt, Prokofiev, Mussorgsky, and Scriabin.

    Richter has been highly praised by other renowned musicians such as Glenn Gould, Arthur Rubinstein, Heinrich Neuhaus, Dmitri Shostakovich, Lazar Berman, Vladimir Sofronitsky, Vladimir Horowitz, and others.


    I don’t play for the audience, I play for myself, and if I derive any satisfaction from it, then the audience, too, is content.”

    “Put a small piano in a truck and drive out on country roads; take time to discover new scenery; stop in a pretty place where there is a good church; unload the piano and tell the residents; give a concert; offer flowers to the people who have been so kind as to attend; leave again.”










    Article written by me for Lunyr

  • Earthling 3:03 pm on May 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Heinrich Neuhaus, Master pianist, Music teachers, Musical pedagogue, , Polish pianist, , Teacher of Sviatoslav Richter,   

    Heinrich Neuhaus 


    Heinrich Gustavovich Neuhaus (Born on April 2, 1888 in Elizavetgrad, Ukraine – Died on October 10, 1964 in Moscow, Russia) was a Ukrainian-born pianist and teacher of German and Polish descent. He taught at the Moscow Conservatory for 40 years and became one of the most loved and respected pianists and pedagogues of the 20th century.


    Heinrich’s parents were both music teachers. His father Gustav was of German descent. His mother Olga Blumenfeld was of Polish descent. She was the sister of the composer Felix Blumenfeld, a renowned pianist, composer, and teacher who taught at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Heinrich Neuhaus was also the cousin of the renowned Polish composer Karol Szymanowsky.

    Heinrich Neuhaus was precocious and had already become a successful concert pianist by age 17. He was also a polyglot, being fluent in Ukrainian, Russian, German, French, English, and Italian.

    In 1904, the whole family visited Berlin with Felix Blumenfeld and Karol Szymanowsky. In 1905, under Felix Blumenfeld’s advice, Neuhaus went to Berlin to study under Leopold Godowsky. After a brief period of study, he went to Italy. He remained in Italy for two years. Then he returned to Elizavetgrad upon his parent’s request. This greatly depressed him, after a period of productivity and happiness in Italy.

    Neuhaus went to the Hochschule der Musik in Berlin. He studied piano under Heinrich Bart. He also studied music theory and composition. Heinrich Bart was excessively conservative and rejected modern musicians such as Busoni, Liszt, Wagner, Mahler, and Scriabin. Neuhaus could not endure Bart’s approach, and returned to Ukraine. His parents wanted him to finish his education, so they sent him to the Vienna Academy of Music in 1909.

    In 1912, Neuhaus went to Florence, Italy and attempted suicide by cutting his wrist. He was hospitalized and recovered.

    Neuhaus finally went to St. Petersburg, took examinations, and graduated in 1915. He taught in Tbilisi, then returned to Elizavetgrad in 1917. He taught at the Kiev Conservatory from 1919 to 1922. He became very popular as a pianist. His uncle Blumenfeld was also a professor at the Kiev Conservatory. Neuhaus and Blumenfeld were both transferred to the Moscow Conservatory in 1922. Neuhaus remained there for the rest of his life.

    In Moscow, Neuhaus’s fame as both a teacher and a pianist grew. He loved to have many people attend his lessons. His pupils include some of the most highly regarded pianists of the 20th century: Sviatoslav Richter, Emil Gilels, Nina Svetlanova, Alexei Lubimov, Igor Zhukov, Yakov Zak, and others.

    From 1935 to 1937, he was the director of the Moscow Conservatory. During World War 2, he was imprisoned due to suspicions that he was a German spy. He was released after eight months thanks to the intervention of friends and students.

    In 1958, he published The Art of Piano Playing, which remains very widely used and respected among piano teachers and students.

    Neuhaus died in 1964. His son Stanislav Neuhaus is a successful pianist, as well as his grandson Stanislav Bunin.

    Musical Style and Legacy

    Neuhaus strove to understand the whole and the essence of every piece he played, and he tried to instill this in his students. He tried to approach each composer, each piece, and each student according to their own unique qualities. He is remembered as one of the greatest pianist and piano teachers of the 20th century.

    Article written by me for Lunyr

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