Russian-born Vladimir Ashkenazy has been a towering figure both as a pianist and as a conductor, with interpretations cutting a wide swath across Beethoven, the Romantics, and Russian music. His repertoire extends back to Bach and occasionally forward to contemporary pieces. Ashkenazy was born July 6, 1937, in Gorky (now Nizhny Novgorod) in the Soviet Union. His father was a pianist, but it was his mother who encouraged his pianistic gifts. Ashkenazy made his debut at eight in Moscow and enrolled at the Moscow Conservatory in 1955, becoming a student of Lev Oborin. An early breakthrough was a gold medal at the Brussels Queen Elizabeth International piano competition in 1956. Ashkenazy toured the U.S. in 1958 as the so-called Thaw under Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev opened opportunities in the West. Back in Moscow, Ashkenazy married ...
Read Full Biography