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  • Earthling 12:02 pm on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arturo Toscanini, Byron Janis, Gary Graffman, , Jewish pianist, Ronald Turini, , Soviet pianist, Ukrainian pianist, Vladimir Horowitz   

    Vladimir Horowitz 

    Vladimir Samoylovich Horowitz was a Ukraine-born pianist of Jewish descent, who began his career in the USSR and then moved to the US and became a citizen there. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.


    Horowitz was born to a Jewish family in Kiev or Berdichev in 1903. The sources are in disagreement about this. [1] Horowitz’s father later listed his year of birth as 1904 in order to make him appear too young for the army. His mother was a skilled pianist and gave him his first piano lessons.

    Horowitz joined the Kiev Conservatory in 1912. He studied under Felix Blumenfeld, Sergei Tarnowsky, and Vladimir Puchalsky. He graduated in 1919, performing Rachmaninoff’s third piano concerto at his graduation.

    Horowitz embarked upon his career as a professional pianist, giving his first solo concert in 1920. He toured Russia extensively and performed many concerts, often being paid with food instead of money due to the country’s poverty. In 1922, he gave 15 concerts in Khakov in exchange for food and clothing. From 1926 onwards, he debuted in Berlin, Paris, London, and New York.

    In 1932, Horowitz began a lasting partnership with the conductor Arturo Toscanini. The next year, he married Arturo’s daughter Wanda. She did not speak Russian, so they communicated in French. They quickly had their first and only child, Sonia Toscanini Horowitz. Their different religious backgrounds were not a problem because neither of them was practicing.

    At the outbreak of World War 1, Horowitz and his family moved to New York City. He was naturalized in 1944, and spent the rest of his life in the US, with the exception of some.

    Horowitz suffered from doubt in his own abilities, in spite of his great popularity. He became depressed. Some sources indicate that Horowitz was homosexual, which would have worsened his psychological condition.

    From the late 1930s until 1985, Horowitz would often withdraw from public performances for many years at a time. His longest retreat from public performances was from 1953 to 1965. In 1965, he resumed giving recitals on rare occasions. During his long periods of withdrawal, he continued to produce recordings. He sometimes requires great pressure from his wife and friends to stop him from canceling concerts. He also sometimes had to be pushed onto the stage. [1]

    Horowitz underwent electroshock therapy for depression in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s, he tried antidepressants, and his piano playing suffered from their effects. He quit the medication by 1985 and his pianism improved again. [1]

    He returned to the USSR for a series of politically significant concerts in 1986. The following year, he went to Europe and gave his last tour. Horowitz died of a heart attack in New York City in 1989. He was buried in the Toscanini family tomb in Milan, Italy.

    Musical Style and Legacy

    Horowitz was known for his clean and clear playing, his technical skill, and his colorful, exciting style. He had a number of students, notably including Byron Janis, Gary Graffman, and Ronald Turini. He remains one of the most famous and respected pianists of the 20th century.


    [1] http://www.berdichev.org/vladimir_horowitz_and_his_biography.html



    Article written by me for Lunyr

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

    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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