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Cherkassky, Shura (Alexander Isaakovich)

Cherkassky, Shura (Alexander Isaakovich)

Cherkassky, Shura (Alexander Isaakovich), remarkable Russian- born American pianist; b. Odessa, Oct. 7, 1911. He began piano training with his mother. While still a child, he was taken by his family to the U.S., where he continued his studies with Josef Hofmann at the Curtis Inst. of Music in Philadelphia. After making his debut in Baltimore at the age of 11, he appeared as a soloist with Walter Damrosch and the N.Y. Sym. Orch. and performed at the White House in Washington, D.C. (1923); he made his first tour abroad in 1928 with visits to Australia and South Africa. Following a major tour of Europe in 1946, he pursued extensive tours to most of the major music centers in the world. In 1976 he went to Russia for a series of acclaimed concerts, and returned there in 1977 and 1987. He gave many recitals at N.Y.’s 92nd Street Y, which honored him in 1986 with the establishment of the Shura Cherkassky Recital Award to be given annually to a gifted young pianist. On Dec. 2, 1991, he celebrated his 80th year with a recital at N.Y.’s Carnegie Hall in a program of works by Schumann, Chopin, Bach- Busoni, Tchaikovsky-Pabst, Josef Hofmann, and well-received encores. As one of the last representatives of the hallowed Romantic school of piano virtuosity, Cherkassky regaled audiences with a bravura technique and singing tone in the grand Russian manner.


H. Fazzari, ed., Per un omaggio a S. C. (Milan, 1998).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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