Boris Bloch

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Boris Bloch's story has a familiar ring: after graduation as a prized student from the Moscow Conservatory, he emigrated from the former Soviet Union, won several major competitions, established a highly…
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Artist Biography by

Boris Bloch's story has a familiar ring: after graduation as a prized student from the Moscow Conservatory, he emigrated from the former Soviet Union, won several major competitions, established a highly successful career as a keyboard virtuoso, and then turned to conducting. While he has been busy as a conductor since the 1990s, holding at least one major post, he has never abandoned the piano, generally keeping it the main focus of his career. As a pianist his repertory is exceedingly broad, taking in J.S. Bach and Scarlatti and reaching to Prokofiev and Schoenberg, with few voids among major composers in between. His repertory as a conductor has embraced much Russian opera, particularly Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov, but inclusive of orchestral music by Mozart, Rachmaninov, and many others. Bloch's considerable discography is available from Danacord, Accord, Nuova Era, and other major labels.

Boris Bloch was born in Odessa, Ukraine, on February 12, 1951. He studied music at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory with, among other notable teachers, Dmitri Bashkirov. He graduated in 1973 and left the Soviet Union for New York City the following year.

In 1976 he won the Young Concert Artists International Audition in New York City. After winning the silver medal in the Artur Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv in 1978, he went on to win that same year the prestigious Busoni International Piano Competition, in Bolzano, Italy.

Bloch quickly became an international keyboard celebrity. In 1985 he made an acclaimed recording of the challenging Busoni Piano Concerto with Christoph Eschenbach for the Aperto label. That same year he joined the faculty at the Folkwang Hochschule in Duisburg, Germany, where he has since taught piano. Bloch was awarded a Grand Prix du Disque by the Budapest-based Franz Liszt Society for his 1988 Accord recording of Liszt operatic paraphrases. From 1993-1995, Bloch served as artistic director of the Odessa Opera, where he led acclaimed performances of Tchaikovsky's Maid of Orleans. Bloch subsequently led the Russian-based Pushkin Opera on tour throughout Germany and has also conducted the State Orchestra of Tyrol (Austria) and the Emilia Romagna Arturo Toscanini Orchestra.

Bloch was also active as a jury member at major competitions in the 1990s and in 2006 he served as artistic director of the (first) International Carl Bechstein Piano Competition in North Rhine-Westphalia. In 2007 Bloch was given the Music Education Award by the city of Duisburg for his outstanding pedagogical work.