- Emil Gilels
Infobox musical artist
Name = Emil Gilels
Background = non_performing_personnel
Birth_name = Samuel Gilels
Born = birth date|1916|10|19
Died = Death date and age|1985|10|14|1916|10|19
Genre = Romantic
Emil Grigoryevich Gilels ( _ru. Эми́ль Григо́рьевич Ги́лельс, " _ru. Emi'li Grego'rievič Gi'lelis";
October 19 1916– October 14 1985) was a Soviet pianist, widely considered to be one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. His last name is sometimes transliterated "Hilels". [cite book
title=The Soviet Power; the Socialist Sixth of the World
oclc=407142] [cite book
title= U.S.S.R. Speaks for Itself Volume Three: Democracy in Practice
publisher=Lawrence & Wishart
Gilels was born in
Odessa. He began studying the piano at the age of five under Yakov Tkach, who was a student of the French pianists Raoul Pugno[ [http://www.naxos.com/artistinfo/bio14380.htm Gilels biography on Naxos.com] ] and Alexander VilloingThus, through Tkach, Gilels had a pedagogical genealogy stretching back to Chopin, via Pugno, and to Muzio Clementi, via Villoing. Tkach was a stern disciplinarian who emphasized scales and studies. Gilels later credited this strict training for establishing the foundation of his technique.cite book
title=Great Contemporary Pianists Speak for Themselves
Gilels made his public debut at the age of 12 in June 1929 with a well-received program of
Beethoven, Scarlatti, Chopin, and Schumann. In 1930, Gilels entered the Odessa Conservatorywhere he was coached by Berta Reingbald, whom Gilels credited as a formative influence.
After graduating from the Odessa Conservatory (
Ukraine) in 1935 , he moved to Moscowwhere he studied under the famous piano teacher Heinrich Neuhausuntil 1937.
A year later he was awarded first prize at the 1938 Ysaÿe International Festival in
Brusselsby a distinguished jury whose members included Arthur Rubinstein, Samuil Feinberg, Emil von Sauer, Ignaz Friedman, Walter Gieseking, Robert Casadesus, and Arthur Bliss. [Facsimile of Gilels's 1938 Ysaÿe Competition First Prize Certificate in: S. Khentova, "Emil Gilels" (unknown publisher, Moscow 1959).] His winning performances were of both volumes of the Brahms-Paganini variations, and the Liszt-Busoni Fantasie on Two Motives from Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro". The other competitors included Moura Lympanyin second place, and Arturo Benedetti Michelangeliin seventh place. [cite web
title=Queen Elisabeth Music Competition prize winners since 1937
format=PDF Michelangeli and Lympany took 7th and 2nd place respectively.]
Following his triumph at Brussels, a scheduled American debut at the
1939 New York World's Fairwas aborted due to the outbreak of the Second World War.
During the War, Gilels entertained Soviet troops with morale-boosting open-air recitals on the frontline, of which film archive footage exists. ["Emil Gilels Plays", Russian television documentary, VHS release on Japanese label IVC, cat. no. IVCV-64144]
In 1945, he formed a chamber music trio with his brother-in-law, the violinist
Leonid Koganand the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.
After the war, he toured the Soviet Bloc countries of Eastern
Europeas a soloist. He also gave two-piano recitals with Yakov Flier, as well as concerts with his violinist sister, Elizaveta.
Gilels was one of the first Soviet artists, along with
David Oistrakh, allowed to travel and concertize in the West. His delayed American debut in 1955 playing Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in Philadelphiawith Eugene Ormandywas a great success. His British debut in 1959 met with similar acclaim.
In 1952, he became a professor at the
Moscow Conservatory, where his students included Valery Afanassiev[http://einam.com/pages/russian.htm] and Felix Gottlieb [http://www.felixgottlieb.com/eng/bio.htm] . He presided over the International Tchaikovsky Competitionfor many years, and as chair of the jury awarded first prize to Van Cliburnat the sensational inaugural event in 1958.
He made his
Salzburg Festivaldebut in 1969 with a piano recital of Weber, Prokofiev and Beethoven at the Mozarteum, followed by a performance of Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto with George Szelland the Vienna PhilharmonicOrchestra.
In 1981, he suffered a
heart attackafter a recital at the Concertgebouwin Amsterdam, [ [http://phonoarchive.org/grove/Entries/S11135.htm Gilels, Emil (Grigor'yevich) ] ] and suffered declining health thereafter. He died unexpectedly during a medical checkup in Moscow, only a few days before his 69th birthday. Sviatoslav Richter, who knew Gilels well and was a fellow-student of Neuhaus at the Moscow Conservatory, believed that he was killed accidentally when an incompetent doctor at the Kremlin hospital gave him the wrong injection during a routine checkup. [cite book
coauthors=Bruno Monsaingeon, Stewart Spencer (trans.)
title=Sviatoslav Richter: Notebooks and Conversations
publisher=Princeton University Press
Notable Repertoire and Assessment
Gilels is universally admired for his superb technical control and burnished tone. [ [http://www.emil-gilels.com/ "Emil Gilels"] , "In Memory of Emil Gilels", 2007. Accessed
June 3 2007.]
He had an extensive repertoire, from Baroque to Late Romantic and 20th Century Classical composers. His interpretations of the central German-Austrian classics formed the core of his repertoire, in particular Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann; but he was equally illuminative with Scarlatti, Bach, as well as with twentieth-century music like Debussy, Bartók, and Prokofiev. His
Lisztwas also first-class, and his recordings of the "Hungarian Rhapsody" nº 6 and the Sonata in B minor have acquired classic status in some circles. [International Piano Quarterly, Winter 2001, Orpheus Publications Limited]
Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 8, dedicated to Mira Mendelssohn, on December 30, 1944, in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. [cite web|title=Piano Sonata No. 8 in B flat major, Op. 84|url=http://www.prokofiev.org/catalog/workall.cfm?WorkID=94|publisher=Prokofiev.org|accessdate=2008-01-26]
He was in the midst of completing a recording cycle of Beethoven's piano sonatas for the German record company
Deutsche Grammophonwhen he died. His recording of the "Hammerklavier" sonata received a Gramophone Award in 1984.
Prizes, Awards and Honors
*1st Prize, All-Soviet Union Piano Competition, 1933
*2nd Prize, Vienna International Piano Competition, 1936
*1st Prize, Concours Eugène Ysaÿe, Brussels, 1938
*Stalin Prize, USSR, 1946
*People's Artist, USSR, 1954
*Order of Lenin, USSR, 1961
*Order of Commandeur Mérite Culturel et Artistique de Paris, 1967
*Gold Medal of the City of Paris, France
*Order of King Leopold I, Belgium
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rome
Royal Academy of Music, London
Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest
*1935 - Liszt: "Fantasia on Themes from Mozart's Marriage of Figaro."
*1951 - Liszt: "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 9."
*1954 - Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22 (cond. Cluytens)*.
*1954 - Medtner: Piano Sonata No. 5 in G Minor, Op. 22.
*1955 - Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30 (cond. Cluytens).
*1958 - Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83 (cond. Reiner).
*1957 - Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 (cond. Ludwig).
*1957 - Scriabin: Piano Sonata No. 4 in F sharp major, Op. 30*.
*1957 - Weinberg: Piano Sonata No. 4 in B Minor.
Prelude in B minor (J. S. Bach, arranged Siloti)* (Moscow)
*1968 - Medtner: Piano Sonata No. 10 in A minor, Op. 38 No. 1. ("Sonata Reminiscenza")
*1972 - Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major, Op. 44 (cond. Maazel).
*1972 - Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15 and Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83 (cond. Jochum).
*1973 - Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata".
*1973 - Debussy: "Images, Book 1"*.
*1973 - Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat major, K595 (cond. Boehm).
*1974 - Grieg: "
*1974 - Prokofiev: Sonata No. 8 in B flat major, Op. 84.
*1976 - Schubert: Forellenquintett ("
Trout Quintet") Quintet for Piano, Violin, Violoncello, and Contrabass in A major D667 (with Amadeus Quartet)
*1977 - Rachmaninoff, "Prelude in C-sharp minor Op. 3 No. 2"* (Moscow)
*1978 - Chopin: Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58.
*1982 - Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat major, Op. 106 "Hammerklavier" (Berlin)
*1984 - Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat major, Op. 106 "Hammerklavier"* (Moscow)
*1984 - Scriabin: "Third Sonata"* (Moscow)
* [http://www.emil-gilels.com/ Emil-Gilels.com - International web project in memoriam Emil Gilels]
* [http://www.doremi.com/DiscGilComp.html Extensive discography]
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