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Ashkenazy, Vladimir Davidovich


ASHKENAZY, VLADIMIR DAVIDOVICH (1937–), Russian-born pianist. His mother was Russian Orthodox, his father Jewish and himself a pianist. Ashkenazy made his first public appearance at the age of eight, in a performance of a Haydn piano concerto. He later studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Lev Oborin. In 1955 he was awarded second prize in the International Chopin piano competition in Warsaw and, the following year, first prize in the Queen Elizabeth international music competition in Brussels. In 1962 he shared the first prize in the Tchaikovsky competition with the British pianist John Ogdon. Ashkenazy's success in Brussels led to concert tours throughout the world. He soon achieved fame as a great virtuoso whose playing was marked by technical perfection, poetic expression, and a unique range of interpretation. He settled in England after a tour in 1963. He subsequently became a citizen of Iceland and was awarded the Icelandic Order of the Falcon. Ashkenazy served as music director of the London-based Royal Philharmonic Orchestra between 1987 and 1994 and of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester of Berlin from 1988. From 1998 he was director of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. He wrote an autobiography, Beyond Frontiers (with Jasper Parrott, 1984).

[Michael Goldstein /

Rohan Saxena (2nd ed.)]

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