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Berman, Lazar (Naumovich)

Berman, Lazar (Naumovich)

Berman, Lazar (Naumovich), brilliant Russian pianist; b. Leningrad, Feb. 26, 1930. He began music training in infancy with his mother, and at the age of 3 began piano lessons with Savshinsky. At age 7, he made his debut at the Ail-Union Festival for young performers in Moscow, where, at age 9, he became a pupil of Alexander Goldenweiser at the Central Music School, and later at the Cons, (graduated, 1953; master classes, 1953-57); he also studied at the Cons, with Theodore Gutmann. In 1951 he won the World Youth and Student Festival prize in East Berlin, and in 1956 took fifth prize at the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium competition in Brussels and third prize at the Liszt competition in Budapest. From 1957 he pursued his career in earnest. In 1958 he made his London debut, but it was not until a highly successful tour of Italy in 1970 that he made his mark in the West. In 1971 he made his U.S. debut as soloist with the N.J. Sym. Orch., and returned in 1976 to tour the U.S. to great critical acclaim. In subsequent years, he toured throughout the world. His titanic technique, astounding in bravura passages, does not preclude the beauty of his poetic evocation of lyric moods. His performances of Schumann, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Scriabin, and Prokofiev are particularly compelling.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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