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Davidovich, Bella

Davidovich, Bella

Davidovich, Bella , esteemed Russian-born American pianist and pedagogue, mother ofDmitry Sitkovetsky; b. Baku, July 16, 1928. Her maternal grand-father was concertmaster of the Baku opera orch. and her mother was a pianist. She began formal piano training when she was 6; at age 9 she appeared as soloist in the Beethoven First Piano Concerto in Baku. In 1939 she was sent to Moscow to pursue studies with Igumnov, with whom she subsequently studied at the Cons. (1946–48), where she completed her training with Yakov Flier (1948–54). In 1949 she captured joint first prize at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw, which launched her upon a highly successful career in Russia and Eastern Europe; she was a soloist each season with the Lenin-grad Phil. (1950–78) and taught at the Cons. (1962–78). In 1967 she made her first appearance outside Russia, playing in Amsterdam; in 1971 she made a tour of Italy. Following the defection of her son to the West in 1977, she was refused permission to perform there by the Soviet government. In 1978 she emigrated to the U.S., becoming a naturalized American citizen in 1984. In 1979 she made an acclaimed debut in a recital at N.Y.’s Carnegie Hall. In 1982 she joined the faculty of the Juilliard School in N.Y. but continued to pursue an international career. In 1988 she and her son visited Russia, being the first emigres to be invited to perform there by Goskontsert since the Gorbachev era of reform was launched.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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