The Konstantin Igumnov Tradition
Piano Traditions Through Their Genealogy Trees
© 2022, by Daniel Pereira
Doctor of Musical Arts | www.daniel-pereira.com
Russian-Icelandic (Gorkiy, current Nizhniy Novgorod, July 6, 1937)
Vladimir Ashkenazy is a pianist and conductor. He studied at the Moscow Central School of Music with Anaida Sumbatyan and with Lev Oborin at the Moscow Conservatory. In 1955, he was awarded the second prize at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw, a year later the first prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels and, in 1962, also the first prize ex aequo with John Ogdon at the Tchaikovsky Competition. Shortly after, he fled the USSR and settled in London with his wife and son. In. 1969, they moved to Iceland and also lived in Switzerland. His numerous recordings include the complete Chopin piano works, the Scriabin complete sonatas and complete cycles of the concertos by Mozart, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev. Ashkenazy returned to his homeland in 1989, after an absence of 26 years. Co-written with Jasper Parrott, he published his autobiography, Beyond Frontiers, in 1984.
Beethoven, Ludwig van
German (Bonn, baptized December 17, 1770 — Vienna, March 26, 1827)
Ludwig van Beethoven was a composer and pianist. He had Belgian ancestry and came from three generations of musicians who worked for the Electorate of Cologne. He was one of the most influential, admired and popular figures in music history. Beethoven was a great pianist and improviser and a visionary composer who transcended the limits of the piano, particularly after the illness, which isolated him —deafness— worsened. He described the state of his despairing soul in the famous Heiligenstadt Testament of 1802, addressed to his brothers Johann and Carl. Beethoven settled in Vienna in 1792, where he received lessons from Haydn and likely from Mozart and became a highly respected composer in the Austrian capital. Beethoven´s piano output is crowned by the 32 piano sonatas, the 5 piano concertos, and the Diabelli variations, all of which are masterpieces of the piano literature.
[See the Ludwig van Beethoven Tradition]
Russian-American (Moscow, April 3, 1948)
Boris Berman is a pianist and teacher. He was a student of Lev Oborin at the Moscow Conservatory. In 1973, he moved to Israel where he taught at the Tel-Aviv University. In 1979, Berman settled in the USA where he teaches at Yale University. He gave first performances in Russian of works by Ligeti, Berio, Stockhausen and Cage. Berman´s recordings include the Prokofiev complete piano works. He published a book on piano playing titled Notes from the pianist´s bench.
Russian (Kovalyovka, South Ukraine, April 19, 1863 — Moscow, January 21, 1931)
Felix Blumenfeld was a pianist, conductor, teacher and composer. Heinrich Neuhaus was his nephew. He was a piano student of Stein at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, where he taught since 1885. He also taught at the Moscow Conservatory from 1922 to 1931. Among his students were Horowitz, Grinberg and Barere. Blumenfeld was conductor of the Mariinsky Theatre where he premiered Rimsky-Korsakov´s Servilia and Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh, as well as Russia´s first performance of Tristan und Isolde. He also premiered numerous works for piano of such composers as Glazunov, Lyadov and Arensky. Among other pieces, he produced the 24 Preludes and a number of sets of variations.
[See the Felix Blumenfeld Tradition]
Italian (Empoli, Tuscany, April 1, 1866 — Berlin, July 27, 1924)
Ferrucio Busoni was a pianist and composer. Born in the region of Tuscany, his family moved to Trieste in the Northern part of the country when he was only a few months old and, as a result, he was influenced by a Germanic atmosphere. His father, who gave Busoni his first piano instruction focused on Bach, was a virtuoso clarinet player, and his Austrian-born mother was a pianist. Although Busoni was baptized Catholic, he was fundamentally an atheist. He entered the Vienna Conservatory at the age of nine but, unhappy with the curriculum of studies, left after only two years. He taught at the Helsinki College of Music, New England Conservatory in the USA and at the Vienna Conservatory, and also in Switzerland and Moscow, where he married Gerda Sjöstrand. He enjoyed giving “historical recitals”, inspired by Anton Rubinstein, such as the six concerts he performed in Berlin in 1911 championing the music of Liszt or the series of eight recitals devoted to the keyboard literature since J.S. Bach. His extensive output includes works of a broad compositional spectrum including the monumental Piano Concerto (with a male chorus finale), Fantasia contrappuntistica, Suite Campestre, 24 Preludi, Sonata in F, Sonatina Seconda and the Toccata. The letters “BV” or “KiV” following his compositions refer to Jürgen Kindermann´s catalogue. Busoni mastered an extensive repertory and produced a number of Bach transcriptions such as the organ preludes and the Chaconne and published an annotated edition of the Well-tempered clavier and of Liszt´s works for the Franz-Liszt-Stiftung. He made several 78-rpm and piano-roll recordings including Liszt´s Feux follets and Réminiscences de Don Juan.
[See the Ferruccio Busoni Tradition]
Austrian (Vienna, February 21, 1791 — Vienna, July 15, 1857)
Carl Czerny was a teacher, composer, pianist, theorist and historian. He is a fundamental figure in the history of the piano. His most famous students were Franz Liszt, Theodor Leschetizky and Theodor Kullak. His early musical instruction was supervised by his father Wenzel Czerny, who was a pianist, organist, oboist and singer. At the age of ten, he began studies with Beethoven whose lessons, several times a week, employed C.P.E. Bach´s Essay. Czerny proofread many of Beethoven´s works and was admired for the interpretations of the master´s works, all of which he apparently could play from memory. He was not interested in becoming a touring virtuoso and focused on teaching and composing instead. He taught 12 hours a day, charged high fees and amassed a fortune by the end of his life. His numerous compositions include studies, exercises, sonatas, sonatinas and even a Concerto for four hands. Of a great influence are his technical studies such as the opp. 200, 300, 400, 500, 600 and The Art of Finger Dexterity op. 740. Czerny was in close terms with Chopin and with his pupil Liszt, who invited him to collaborate in his Hexaméron variations. He published an autobiography in 1842 titled Erinnerungen aus meinem Leben.
[See the Carl Czerny Tradition]
Russian-American (Baku, July 16, 1928)
Bella Davidovich is a pianist. She studied with Konstantin Igumnov and Yakov Flier at the Moscow Conservatory, where she also taught since 1962. In 1949, she received the first prize at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw. In 1984, Davidovich was naturalized American. She taught of piano at The Juilliard School in New York.
Larissa Dedova is a pianist and teacher. She studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Lev Oborin and Eugeny Malinin. She won first prizes at the Bach Competition in Leipzig and Pro Piano International Competition in New York. She taught at the Moscow Conservatory for 27 years. Dedova has made records for Melodiya, ConClaRec and Centaur, including the complete solo piano works by Debussy and Ravel. Dedova teaches at the University of Maryland at College Park and is married to pianist Mikhail Volchok.
Russian-Norwegian (Nizhniy Novgorod, February 27, 1891 — Oslo, December 3, 1953)
Issay Dobrowen was a conductor and pianist. He studied with Konstantin Igumnov at the Moscow Conservatory and with Leopold Godowsky in Vienna. After the Russian Revolution, he settled in Germany where he conducted orchestras in Berlin and Dresden as well as in San Francisco and Hungary. Dobrowen finally settled in Norway and also worked in Sweeden, where he directed the Swedish Royal Opera and the Göteborg Sypmhony Orchestra. As a composer, he produced several concertos for piano and solo pieces.
Russian (Kostromá, December 19, 1937)
Anatoly Dokumentov is a pianist and teacher. He studied at the Central Moscow School with Goldenweiser´s pupil Elena Petrovna Hoven. Subsequently, he entered the Moscow Conservatory where he became a student of Alexander Egorov and Lev Oborin. He teaches at the Nekrasov Kostroma State University. Dokumentov married pianist Ananievna Seliverstova in 1965.
Austrian (Vienna, June 20, 1833 — Vienna, November 7, 1919)
Anton Door was a pianist and teacher. He had an important impact on the Russian school of pianism. He was a member of the Royal Academy in Stockholm and president of the Friends of Brahms Society in Vienna. Door was the dedicatee of Tchaikovsky´s Valse-Caprice op. 4 and Saint-Saëns´ Piano Concerto no. 4.
[See the Anton Door Tradition]
Russian (Moscow, March 3, 1812 — Moscow, January 8, 1898)
Alexander Dubuque was a pianist, composer and teacher. He probably was of French descent. Dubuque was one of the most influential teachers in Russia, carrying John Field´s piano tradition into the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, particularly through his student Nikolay Zverev. He taught at the Moscow Conservatory between 1866 and 1872. Dubuque published a book on piano technique and Reminiscences of Field. He composed a handful of piano pieces such as Album pour les enfants, 3 études dans le style fugue opp. 95-97 and Le rossignol d´Alabieff.
[See the Alexander Dubuque Tradition]
Irish (Dublin, ?July 26, 1782, bap. 5 September — Moscow, January 23, 1837)
John Field was a pianist and composer. His pianism had a tremendous influence on many pianists, and particularly had an impact on the development of the Russian school of piano playing. He was the son of a professional violinist and received his first music lessons from his grandfather, also named John Field, who was a professional organist. In 1793, his family moved to London where Field became Clementi´s student. Subsequently, Field also collaborated with the Italian composer by performing on Clementi´s manufactured pianos and showcasing the qualities of the instruments. Furthermore, in 1802 Field accompanied Clementi to Russia, where he was to remain for most of his life. He met Hummel and performed the duet Sonata op. 92 with him. His lifestyle of alcohol consumption and smoking likely deteriorated his health. He contracted rectal cancer. His piano compositions exerted an important influence on the Romantic piano style. Field´s piano output is extensive and includes 7 piano concertos, 16 nocturnes, 4 fantasies, rondos, romances, Variations fa lal la and Chanson russe varié. In 1961, Cecil Hopkinson [H] introduced a catalogue of the works of John Field.
[See the John Field Tradition]
Russian (Orekhovo-Zuyevo, October 21, 1912 — Moscow, December 18, 1977)
Yakov Flier was a pianist and teacher. He studied with Konstantin Igumnov at the Moscow Conservatory. In 1936, he was awarded the first prize at the Vienna Competition. Flier taught at the Moscow Conservatory from 1936. His recordings include the Khachaturian Piano Concerto. Among his students were Mikhail Pletnev, Viktoria Postnikova and Lev Vlasenko.
[See the Yakov Flier Tradition]
Armenian (Yerevan, October 1, 1925)
Maria Gambaryan is a pianist. She studied with Konstantin Igumnov at the Leningrad Conservatory and with Heinrich Neuhaus and Lev Oborin at the Moscow Conservatory. Gambaryan taught at the Leningrad Conservatory and at the Gnessin College.
Russian (Moscow, April 17, 1977)
Alexander Ghindin is a pianist. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Mikhail Voskresensky. He received second prize at the 1999 Queen Elisabeth Competition (Belgium) and first prizes at the 2007 Cleveland Competition (USA) and 2010 Santa Catarina Competition (Brazil). Ghindin has made numerous records for Decca, Capriccio, Ondine, DML and Naxos, among others. He is the International Artistic Co-Director of the Swedish Royal Festival and Artistic Director and Conductor of the Ensemble of Soloists Hermitage and Kaluga Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Gnessina, Elena Fabianovna
Russian (Rostov-on-Don, May 30, 1874 — Moscow, June 4, 1967)
Elena Gnessina was a composer and teacher. She studied with Vasily Safonov at the Moscow Conservatory and, privately, with Busoni and Taneyev. In 1895, Elena and her sisters founded a music school in Moscow which became the Gnessin State Musical College in 1926. Her students included Lev Oborin and Aram Khachaturian. Gnessina composed piano études and children pieces.
Polish-American (Soshly, near Vilnius, February 13, 1870 — New York, November 21, 1938)
Leopold Godowsky was a pianist, teacher and composer. He studied briefly with Ernst Rudorff in Berlin and was a protégé of Saint-Saëns in Paris. He taught at the New York College of Music, Chicago Conservatory and Gilbert Raynolds Conservatory in Philadelphia. From 1909 to 1914, he succeeded Emil von Sauer and Ferruccio Busoni as director of the piano school of the Akademie der Tonkunst in Vienna. Godowsky concertized extensively in Europe, Asia and America. His compositions for piano include the Java Suite, Moto perpetuo, Sonata in e minor, numerous Bach and Schubert transcriptions, and the 53 Studies on the études of Chopin. In 1930, Godowsky suffered a stroke while recording which partially paralyzed him. Heinrich Neuhaus was one of his most famous students.
Russian (Chisinau, March 10, 1875 — Moscow, November 26, 1961)
Alexander Goldenweiser was a pianist, teacher, writer and composer. He studied with Siloti and Pabst at the Moscow Conservatory. He developed a close relationship with Rachmaninov, Scriabin and Medtner. He taught at the Moscow Conservatory from 1906 to 1961 and had a profound impact on the music education system after the revolution. In 1932, he founded the Central Music School. Goldenweiser had numerous illustrious students including Bashkirov, Feinberg, Nikolayeva and Paperno. In 1955, his apartment became a museum.
[See the Alexander Goldenweiser Tradition]
Ukrainian (Odessa, September 6, 1908 — Tallin Estonia, July 15, 1978)
Maria Grinberg was a pianist. She studied at the Odessa Conservatory and, subsequently, at the Moscow Conservatory wit Felix Blumenfeld and Konstantin Igumnov. She played with the Moscow Philharmonia since 1932 and taught at the Gnessin Institute since 1959. Her recordings include the 13-LP set of Beethoven´s 32 sonatas, which became the first recording ever of the complete series made by a Russian pianist. Grinberg´s students included Naum Shtarkman and Regina Shamvili.
Henselt, Adolf von
German (Schwabach, Bavaria, May 9, 1814 — Bad Warmbrunn, Silesia, now Cieplice Śląskie-Zdrój, Poland, October 10, 1889)
Adolf von Henselt was a pianist, composer and teacher. He was the son of a cotton manufacturer who moved with his family to Munich in 1817. In the mid-1830s, Henselt went into isolation in order to develop his piano technique and, as a consequence, he overstrained his muscles. He met Chopin and was in close contact with Robert and Clara Schumann and with Liszt. In 1838, Henselt travelled to Saint Petersburg, where he taught at the Conservatory and became a celebrated teacher. He had an extraordinary hand span and was able to reach an 11th on the piano. Henselt composed a number of piano works such as the Variations de concert, Piano concerto op. 16, Chant tu printemps, Donizetti variations op. 1, Nocturnes op. 6 and Ballade op. 31. Particularly noteworthy are his 24 études opp. 2 and 5. The opus numbers do not generally correspond to the chronological order of publication due to the fact that Henselt published his works with at least 30 publishing firms. Henselt edited the works of about 40 composers, frequently adding extra ornamentation.
[See the Adolf von Henselt Tradition]
Hummel, Johann Nepomuk
Austrian (Pressburg, now Bratislava, November 14, 1778 — Weimar, October 17, 1837)
Johann Nepomuk Hummel was a pianist and composer. He was one of the most famous musicians of his time and was also active as a conductor and teacher. The son of a string player and conductor, he was musically precocious since the age of three. A pupil of Mozart, Hummel lived in the Mozart´s household where he met da Ponte, Haydn and other personalities of Vienna. He also studied with Albrechtsberger and Salieri. In 1788, he went on an extended concert tour that took him all over Europe during the next five years. In 1804, he succeeded Haydn at Esterházy and conducted the premiere of Haydn´s The Creation at the palace in Eisenstadt. In 1818 he was appointed Grand-Ducal Kapellmeister at Weimar, a post he held until his death. Hummel met and had a profound impact on Chopin, Liszt and Schubert, who had dedicated to him his last three piano sonatas until Diabelli posthumously changed the dedicatory to Schumann. Hummel was a prolific composer in virtually all genres of the time and wrote piano concertos, variations, sonatas, preludes, bagatelles, rondos and numerous other pieces, including successful piano arrangements of orchestral works. His Complete Theoretical and Practical Course of Instructions on the Art of Playing the Piano Forte enjoyed a tremendous success and was published almost at the same time in Germany, England and France, selling thousands of copies. He maintained an unsettling but lasting friendship with Beethoven, was one of the pallbearers at his funeral and improvised at the Beethoven´s memorial concert upon the composer´s request. He married the singer Elisabeth Röckel and one of their sons, Eduard, became a pianist.
[See the Johann Nepomuk Hummel Tradition]
Russian (Lebedyan, Tambov Governorate, May 1, 1873 — Moscow, March 24, 1948)
Konstantin Igumnov was and pianist and teacher. He studied with Nikolai Zverev and, subsequently, at the Moscow Conservatory with Alexander Siloti and Pavel Pabst. He taught at the Tiflis Music School and at the Moscow Conservatory. Igumnov made a piano roll record of 6 compositions for the Welte-Mignon company in 1910. His numerous students included Naum Shtarkman, Yakov Flier, Lev Oborin, Maria Grinberg, Bella Davidovich, Issay Dobrowen and Maria Gambaryan.
[See the Konstantin Igumnov Tradition]
Polish (Warsaw, December 9, 1906 — Warsaw, June 10, 1936)
Boleslaw Kon was a pianist. He studied with Konstantin Igumnov at the Moscow Conservatory and with Alexander Michalowski, Juliusz Wertheim and Zbigniew Drzewiecki in Warsaw. He taught in Krakow at the Music Society Conservatory. He received the third prize at the 1932 Chopin Competition and first prize at the 1933 Vienna Competition, in which Alfred Cortot was a member of the jury and walked out because Dinu Lipatti had not been awarded the first prize. Kon suffered from depression and committed suicide in Warsaw in 1936.
German (Krotoschin, now Krotoszyn, Poland, September 12, 1818 — Berlin, March 1, 1882)
Theodor Kullak was a pianist, composer and teacher. He was one of the most eminent piano teachers in the 19th century. Kullak was pianist to the Prussian court and teacher of the royalty and aristocracy in Berlin. In that city, he co-founded and directed the Stern Conservatory, succeeded by Bülow, and later the Neue Akademie der Tonkunst, focused on piano teaching, which became the largest private school in Germany counting over 100 teachers and 1100 students. Kullak composed a substantial amount of piano works such as the Symphonie de piano op. 27, Ballade op. 54, Scherzo op. 125 and, particularly influential, the School of Octaves studies.
[See the Theodor Kullak Tradition]
Russian (Orel, near Moscow, December 13, 1874 — New York, December 2, 1944)
Josef Lhévinne was a pianist. He studied with Vassily Safonov at the Moscow Conservatory. After a few tours abroad, he was forced to do the military service in Russia. In 1898, he married pianist Rosina Bessie, later known as Rosina Lhévinne. From 1900 to 1902, he taught in Tbilisi and, from 1902 to 1906, at the Moscow Conservatory. After a period in Berlin, the Lhévinnes settled in New York and, since 1924, both taught at Juilliard. His disciples included Adele Marcus, Sascha Gorodnitzki and Homer Samuels. Lhévinne made several phonograph records and published Basic Principles in Pianoforte Playing.
[See the Josef Lhévinne Tradition]
Hungarian (Raiding, [in Hungarian: Doborján], October 22, 1811 — Bayreuth, July 31, 1886)
Franz Liszt was a pianist, conductor, teacher and composer. He is indisputably one of the greatest piano virtuosi of all time and a pioneer in different areas: father of modern piano technique, inventor of the piano recital, the masterclass and of novel concepts in orchestral conducting. He performed complete concerts by memory, performed works from the entire history of the keyboard literature and always opened the lid of the piano towards the audience. His compositions envisioned new harmonic paths which greatly influenced Debussy, Ravel or Scriabin. Born in the Burgenland, a region which nowadays belongs to Austria, located at about 100 kms. from Vienna, Liszt´s native tongue was German, and he never became fluent or comfortable in Hungarian. His father, Adam, an amateur musician who worked for a long time at the Esterházy estates and met Joseph Haydn, gave him his first music lessons. During his travels, Liszt met Beethoven, Brahms, Anton Rubinstein, Chopin, Schumann, Berlioz, Alkan, Hiller, Grieg and many other contemporary figures. A student of Czerny, Salieri, Reicha and Ferdinando Paër, he went on extended concert tours in Europe, England, Scotland, Russia, Turkey, Spain and Portugal, playing numerous and populated recitals such as the one he offered at La Scala in Milan for 3,000 people. At the age of 35, he decided to abandon the stage and devote his time to mostly compose, teach and doing a great deal of travelling, especially to Weimar, Rome and Budapest. Always interested in the live of the saints, religion and spiritual life, he received the four minor Catholic orders in July 1865. He lived at the Vatican for a time and became friends with Pope Pius IX. His compositional output for piano is enormous. His large-scale works include the Sonata in B minor, Dante Sonata and the piano concertos. He went beyond the Romantic concept of the étude with the 12 Transcendental Études, 6 Paganini Études or the several Études de Concert, and wrote numerous Hungarian Rhapsodies. He produced many sets of pieces including the Années de Pèlerinage, Harmonies Poétiques et Religieuses, as well as the Ballades and the Mephisto Waltzes. Liszt also made a number of transcriptions of Bach´s works, Schubert lieder and Beethoven symphonies, and paraphrases on operatic themes such as Rigoletto, Don Juan and Norma. In the late pieces, he explored new harmonic devices, the exploitation of the limits of tonality and atmospheric effects in Nuages Gris, La Lugubre Gondola, Unstern! and Bagatelle sans tonalité. He produced editions of the Beethoven complete sonatas, Field´s nocturnes, Chopin´s complete works, and of pieces by Schubert and Weber. The most authoritative catalogue of Liszt´s works was compiled by British composer Humphrey Searle, hence the use of the letter “S” following the titles of Liszt´s works. Liszt had three children, two of them died during his lifetime, and his daughter Cosima was married to Hans von Bülow before she left him for Richard Wagner. By the end of his life, Liszt suffered from dropsy, fevers and cataracts. He likely died of heart infraction at the age of 74.
[See the Franz Liszt Tradition]
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Austrian (Salzburg, January 27, 1756 — Vienna, December 5, 1791)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a composer, keyboard and violin player. He is regarded among the major exponents of the Viennese Classicism and one of the most astonishing music geniuses in history. He was baptized as Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus. He was the son of Leopold Mozart who took responsibility for the education of his son not only in music but in mathematics, reading, writing, literature, languages, dancing and moral and religious ideas. Wolfgang Amadeus composed his first works at the age of five. Mozart and his family travelled extensively all over Europe between 1762 and 1773. Subsequently, he lived in Salzburg and finally settled in Vienna. W.A. Mozart married Constanze Weber, a cousin of composer Carl Maria von Weber. Mozart excelled in all music genres. His piano output is large including 27 piano concertos for one, two and three pianos, 18 piano sonatas, fantasies, rondos, and variations such as Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman and other sets on themes by Fischer, Salieri, Grétry, Paisiello, Gluck and Sarti. He also produced a sonata for two pianos and works for piano duet. The first edition of the Köchel catalogue of Mozart´s works was completed in 1863 by Ludwig von Köchel.
[See the Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Tradition]
Russian-American (Moscow, January 26, 1950)
Lev Natochenny is a pianist and professor. He studied with Lev Oborin at the Moscow Conservatory. He also received lessons from Boris Zemliansky, Eliso Virsaladze and Alexei Lubimov and, in the West, with Ania Dorfmann at the Juilliard School. He played for the violin class of David Oistrakh. In 1978, he was granted permission to leave the USSR. In 1981, he received a gold medal and second prize at the Busoni Competition in Bolzano. Natochenny taught at the Manhattan School, Mannes College and City University of New York. He was a founding member of the Meranofest International Music Festival in Italy.
Neuhaus, Heinrich Felix Gustavovich
Russian (Elisavetgrad, Imperial Russia [later Kirovograd, Ukraine], April 12, 1888 — Moscow, October 10, 1964)
Heinrich Neuhaus was a pianist and pedagogue. His uncle was Felix Blumenfeld and his cousin Karol Szymanowski. He studied with Aleksander Michalowski in Warsaw, with Leopold Godowsky in Berlin and with Karl Heinrich Barth. At the outset of World War I, Neuhaus returned to Russia and would never leave again the future Soviet territories. From 1916 to 1918, he taught at the Specialist Music School (later renamed Tbilisi Conservatory) in Tbilisi, and from 1919 he was a professor at the Kiev Conservatory. He was transferred to the Moscow Conservatory in 1922, where he was one of the professors involved in establishing the Central Music School. In November 1941, Neuhaus was arrested and sent into exile to Sverdlovsk, where he taught at the Ural Conservatory between 1942 and 1944. He contracted polio in 1933. He published About the Art of Piano Playing in 1958. Among his pupils were Lev Naumov, Sviatoslav Richter, Emil Gilels, Yakov Zak, Alexei Lubimov and Vladimir Krainev.
[See the Heinrich Neuhaus Tradition]
Russian (Moscow, September 11, 1907 — Moscow, January 5, 1974)
Lev Oborin was a pianist and teacher. He studied with Elena Gnessina and Konstantin Igumnov. He received the first prize at the inaugural Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 1927. A year after, Oborin started to teach at the Moscow Conservatory where his most famous pupil was Vladimir Ashkenazy. He formed a duo with David Oistrakh and also a trio with him and with Sviatoslav Knushevitsky. Oborin premiered numerous including the Khachaturian Piano Concerto.
[See The Lev Oborin Tradition]
Russian (Elets, February 26, 1892 — Grantown-on-Spey, Scotland, May 31, 1964)
Nikolay Orlov was a pianist. He studied at the Gnessin School in Moscow and with Konstantin Igumnov at the Moscow Conservatory. In 1912, he premiered Glazunov´s Piano Concerto no. 1. He taught at the Moscow Philharmonic School and at the Conservatory. Orlov settled in London in 1948.
Paul Ostrovsky is a pianist and professor. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Yakov Flier and Emil Gilels. He has performed at the most important festivals and concert halls in the world and collaborated with such musicians as Isaac Stern, Shlomo Mintz, James Galway and Vladimir Feltsman and the Tokyo, Shanghai and Australian string quartets. He was a founding member of the Moscow Conservatory Trio. Ostrovsky taught at the pre-college division of the Moscow Conservatory and currently teaches at the State University of New York at Purchase and offers masterclasses at Catholic University and Aspen Music Festival. He made records for Melodiya, Vox, CMH and a cd with Mintz for DG, which received the Grammophon Award in 1988.
Russian (Königsberg, now Kaliningrad, May 15, 1854 — Moscow, June 9, 1897)
Pavel was a pianist and teacher. Born into a family of musicians in East Prussia, he was one of the most influential teachers in Russia and his students brought the Russian tradition into the 20th century. He performed with Rachmaninov, premiered Arensky´s Piano Concerto and wrote numerous piano transcriptions which are regarded as fine as those of Liszt. In 1884, Tchaikovsky appointed him editor of his piano works. Pabst wrote a Piano Concerto, which he premiered under Anton Rubinstein´s baton, who was the dedicatee of his Piano Trio in A major.
[See the Pavel Pabst Tradition]
Spanish (O Carballiño, Ourense, September 15, 1977)
Daniel Pereira is a pianist, professor and researcher. He completed a doctorate in musical arts at the University of Maryland, a master's degree at the University of Hartford and an artist diploma at the State University of New York, after studying at the Superior Conservatory of Vigo. His teachers include María Jesús Valles, José Manuel Fernández, Luiz de Moura Castro, Paul Ostrovsky and Mikhail Volchok. Pereira released the double CD 90: Scriabin Complete Piano Preludes, for Odradek Records. Pereira performed and attended masterclasses in festivals in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Brazil and the USA. He carried out extensive research on piano schools at the International Piano Archives at Maryland (IPAM) in the USA, which publishes his Pianistic Traditions project, as well as Melómano Digital in Spain. International Piano published the Rooted in Tradition article on it. Pereira edited We Can´t Always Play Waltzes for Carl Fischer and The Teaching of Alfred Cortot for Clavier Companion. Pereira lived 14 years in the USA and also in London, where he worked as a teacher at the WKMT. He was a pianist at the ESAD in Malaga and at the Royal Conservatory of Dance Mariemma in Madrid. In 2021, he was appointed professor of music at the Professional Conservatory of Vigo.
Russian (Arkhangelsk, April 14, 1957)
Mikhail Pletnev is a pianist, conductor and composer. His father was an accordion teacher and his mother a piano accompanist. He learned how to play several instruments and studied piano at the Central Music School in Moscow with Eugeny Timakin. Subsequently, he took lessons with Yakov Flier and Lev Vlasenko at the Moscow Conservatory. Pletnev won the 1978 Tchaikovsky Competition. His recordings include the music of Rachmaninov, C.P.E. Bach, Chopin and Scarlatti. As a conductor, he founded the Russian National Opera in 1990, the first self-financing orchestra in Russia. Pletnev has made a number of piano transcriptions, including the Nutcracker, and composed several works.
Russian (Moscow, January 12, 1944)
Viktoria Postnikova is a pianist. She was a child prodigy and started to study at the Moscow Central School when she was 6 and played a Mozart concerto a year after. She studied with Yakov Flier at the Moscow Conservatory and won awards and prizes at the Warsaw, Lisbon, Leeds and Tchaikovsky competitions. Postnikova recorded the complete piano works of Tchaikovsky, Glinka and Janáček and the concertos of Chopin, Brahms and Prokofiev. In 1969, she married conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky with whom she played duets.
Russian (Moscow, June 2 or 14, 1835 — Paris, March 11 or 23, 1881)
Pianist, conductor and teacher, he was the brother of Anton Rubinstein. He opened the Moscow branch of the Russian Musical Society in 1859, which later became the Moscow Conservatory, with Tchaikovsky among its teachers. He toured Russia as a child with Alexander Villoing and also studied medicine at Moscow University in order to avoid enlisting in the army. He was a superb pianist and teacher although, as did his brother, used to yell at his students. He died of consumption in a hotel in Paris. Tchaikovsky dedicated to him his Piano Trio in A minor.
[See the Nikolay Rubinstein Tradition]
Safonov, Vasily Ilyich
Russian (Cossack settlement, near Itsyursk, Caucasus, February 6, 1852 — Kislovodsk, Caucasus, February 27, 1918)
Vasily Safonov was a pianist, teacher, conductor and composer. His father was a Cossack general. In 1862, the family moved to Saint Petersburg, where Safonov studied the piano with Theodore Leschetizky and Louis Brassin. He graduated from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory with a gold medal and taught there until 1885, when he was appointed professor at the Moscow Conservatory and, later, its director in 1889. Safonov spent some time in United States, where he conducted such orchestras as the LSO and New York Philharmonic and was appointed director of the National Conservatory in New York. Scriabin, Medtner and the Lhévinnes were among his pupils. Safonov wrote a pedagogical book, the New Formula for the Piano Teacher and the Piano Student.
[See the Vasily Safonov Tradition]
Russian (Zhitomir, September 28, 1927 — Moscow, July 19, 2006)
Naum Shtarkman was a pianist. He studied with Konstantin Igumnov at the Moscow Conservatory and, after his master´s death, he also received advice informally from Richter. Shtarkman was awarded the 5th prize at the V Chopin Competition, the bronze medal at the first Tchaikovsky Competition and first place at the Vianna da Motta Competition in Lisbon. He taught at the Gnessin School and Moscow Conservatory. He was arrested and convicted for his homosexuality and spent 8 years in prison. After he regained his liberty, Shtarkman resumed his concert career and performed concerts worldwide.
Ukrainian (Kharkiv, September 27 or October 9, 1863 — New York, December 8, 1945)
Gold Medal in 1881 at the Moscow Conservatory, his composition teachers included Taneyev and Tchaikovsky, for whom he worked as editor on the first and second piano concertos. His musical activities were broad and included the co-foundation of the Liszt-Verein in Leipzig, direction of the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra and the position of intendant at the Mariinsky Theatre. He also directed the renowned Siloti Concerts in St. Petersburg, at which he introduced such figures as Casals, Hofmann and Landowska and premiered works of Debussy, Rachmaninov and Scriabin, among many others. He published over 200 piano arrangements and transcriptions, made 8 piano roll recordings and wrote a book on reminiscences of Liszt in 1911.
[See the Alexander Siloti Tradition]
Russian (Obolsunovo, Ivanovo region, March 9, 1888 — Logachyovo, Smolensk region, October 6, 1914)
Aleksey Stanchinsky was a composer and pianist. He performed some of his compositions for the first time at the age of 6. He studied privately in Moscow with Josef Lhévinne and Konstantin Eiges and later with Igumnov and Taneyev at the Moscow Conservatory. After the death of his father, Stanchinsky suffered hallucinations and some time after he was diagnosed with dementia praecox and schizophrenia. He spent a period in a clinic and, upon his release, he took lessons from Taneyev by correspondence. His body was found by a river under unclarified circumstances. His compositions include a Sonata for piano, Mazurka, Yumoresk and preludes.
Soviet (Kiev, March 23, 1920 — Moscow, August 5, 1950)
Rosa Tamarkina was a pianist. She studied at the Kiev Conservatory with Nadezhda Markovna Goldenberg. Subsequently, she studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Alexander Goldenweiser and Konstantin Igumnov. Tamarkina was awarded second prize at the 1937 Chopin Competition. She taught for a few years at the Moscow Conservatory. In 1940, she married pianist Emil Gilels. She died from cancer at the age of 30.
Russian (1916 — 2004)
Eugeny Timakin was a pianist and teacher. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Konstantin Igumnov. Timakin taught at the Moscow Central School and Moscow Conservatory, where his pupils included Mikhail Pletnev, Ivo Pogorelich and Olga Kern.
Russian (Saint Petersburg, March 12, 1808 — Saint Petersburg, September 2, 1878)
Alexander Villoing was the son of a French émigré. He became a professor at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. His most famous student was Anton Rubinstein, with whom he toured throughout Europe. In 1863, he published the Klavierschule, a method used at the Conservatory and translated into German and French. His only published work is the Piano Concerto in C major.
[See the Alexander Villoing Tradition]
Virsaladze [née Abdushelishvili], Anastasia
Georgian (Kutaisi, November 11, 1883 — Tbilisi, September 5, 1968)
Anastasia Virsaladze was a pianist and teacher. She studied with Anna Essipova at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. She taught at the Tbilisi Conservatory from 1921 to 1946 where she had over 100 pupils including Dmitri Bashkirov, Lev Vlassenko and her own granddaughter Eliso Virsaladze. She was likely the first Georgian pianist to perform in the United States.
Russian (Tbilisi, Georgia, December 24, 1928 — Brisbane, Australia, August 24, 1996)
Lev Vlasenko was a pianist. He started piano lessons with his mother, a former student at the Tbilisi Conservatory. Subsequently, he received lessons from Anastasia Virsaladze and, from 1948, with Yakov Flier at the Moscow Conservatory. After serving in the army for a year, he was awarded the first prize at the 1956 Budapest Liszt Competition and, two years after, he was runner-up to Vin Cliburn at the Tchaikovsky Competition. From 1952, Vlasenko taught at the Moscow Choral School and, a few years after, he was appointed professor at the Moscow Conservatory, where his students included Mikhail Pletnev.
Russian (Berdiansk, Ukraine, June 25, 1935)
Mikhail Voskresensky is a pianist and teacher. He studied piano with Ilya Klyachko and Lev Oborin and the organ with Leonid Roysman at the Moscow Conservatory, where he also teaches. He is also a professor at the Toho Gakuen School in Tokyo. Voskresensky´s repertoire includes over 60 concertos, all the Beethoven sonatas and Chopin´s complete piano works. He has recorded about 50 cds.
Russian (Volokolamsk, March 25, 1833 — Moscow, October 12, 1893)
Nikolai Zverev was one of the most influential teachers in pre-Soviet Russia. He came from an aristocratic family and studied mathematics and physics at the Moscow State University. After inheriting a large sum of money, he abandoned his studies and moved to Saint Petersburg to become a civil servant.
Subsequently, he returned to Moscow to teach at the Conservatory upon Nikolay Rubinstein´s invitation. Zverev taught many illustrious pianists including Rachmaninov, Scriabin and Siloti. He never married.
[See the Nikolai Zverev Tradition]
© 2022, by Daniel Pereira