Posted 02 June 2016
EMIL GILELS: Centenary Celebration
Emil Gilels was born 100 years ago, and to mark the occasion, Maria Razumovskaya traces the musical journey that gave rise to this great Russian concert pianist. Plus, try the Bach-Siloti Prelude in this issue’s Scores, one of his most famous encores
Posted 02 June 2016
Emil Gilels was born 100 years ago, and to mark the occasion, Maria Razumovskaya traces the musical journey that gave rise to this great Russian concert pianist. Plus, try the Bach-Siloti Prelude in this issue’s Scores, one of his most famous encores
EMIL GILELS: Centenary Celebration
The 100th anniversary of an undisputed titan of 20th-century pianism, Emil Grigoryevich Gilels, is celebrated in 2016. Rarely has a pianist captivated the hearts of international audiences with such an infallible synthesis of emotional directness, profound musical vision and trailblazing technique. Gilels (1916-1985) was one of the most honoured musicians in the USSR and beyond.

During World War II his playing was seen as a beacon of heroism and strength – his iconic performances were heard in concert halls, the radio, on the front lines and, as the war drew to a close, at the monumental Potsdam Conference in 1945. In 1955, in the midst of the politically charged atmosphere of the Cold War, he was entrusted to be the first Soviet artist after the war to perform in America. Despite the crippling travel restrictions for Soviet citizens, the furore of Gilels’s performances paved the way for an illustrious international career.

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