Feltsman, Vladimir, prominent Russian-born American pianist; b. Moscow, Jan. 8, 1952. He was born into a musical family; his father, Oskar Feltsman, was a composer of popular music. He began taking piano lessons at the age of 6 from his mother, and then enrolled at Moscow’s Central Music School, completing his training with Yakov Flier at the Moscow Cons. At age 11, he made his debut as a soloist with the Moscow Phil., and at 15 he won 1st prize in the Prague Concertino Competition. After capturing joint 1st prize in the Long-Thibaud Competition in Paris in 1971, he pursued a successful career as a soloist with major Soviet and Eastern European orchs.; he made particularly successful appearances in works in the Romantic repertoire, his specialty, in Japan (1977) and France (1978). His auspicious career was interrupted by the Soviet authorities when, in 1979, he applied for a visa to emigrate to Israel with his wife. His application was denied and he subsequently was allowed to give concerts only in remote outposts of the Soviet Union. With the support of the U.S. ambassador, he gave several private concerts at the ambassador’s official residence in Moscow; in 1984 one of these was surreptitiously recorded and later released by CBS Masterworks. When his plight became a cause celebre in the West, Feltsman was allowed to give his first Moscow recital in almost a decade (April 21, 1987). In June 1987 he was granted permission to emigrate, and in Aug. 1987 went to the U.S., where he accepted an appointment at the State Univ. of N.Y. at New Paltz. On Sept. 27, 1987, he gave a special concert at the White House for President Reagan, and on Nov. 11, 1987, gave his first N.Y. recital in Carnegie Hall. He subsequently appeared as a soloist with various orchs. and as a recitalist. In 1995 he became a naturalized American citizen.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire