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Ashkenazy, Vladimir (Davidovich)

conductor orch london guest

Ashkenazy, Vladimir (Davidovich), greatly gifted Russian pianist and conductor; b. Gorki, July 6, 1937. He became a student of Anaida Sumbatian at the Central Music School in Moscow in 1945, and in 1955 of Lev Oborin at the Moscow Cons., from which he graduated in 1963. In 1955 he won 2 nd prize in the Chopin Competition in Warsaw. After capturing 1 st prize in the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium Competition in Brussels in 1956, he began to pursue a career as a virtuoso. In 1958 he made his first tour of the U.S., which elicited critical accolades. In 1962 he and John Ogdon were both awarded 1 st prize in the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. In 1963 Ashkenazy made his London debut. After leaving the Soviet Union, he went to Iceland in 1968 and in 1972 he became a naturalized Icelandic citizen. He later made his home in Switzerland. In 1969 Ashkenazy made his conducting debut with the Iceland Sym. Orch. in Reykjavik. In 1977 he made his British conducting debut with the Philharmonia Orch. of London, becoming its principal guest conductor in 1981. From 1987 to 1994 he was music director of the Royal Phil. of London, with which he toured Russia in 1989. He also served as principal guest conductor of the Cleveland Orch. from 1987 to 1994. In 1989 he became chief conductor of the (West) Berlin Radio Sym. Orch., continuing in that position when it became the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin in 1994, and remaining with it until 1999. In 1998 he became music director of the Czech Phil. in Prague. Ashkenazy has appeared as a guest conductor with major orchs. on both sides of the Atlantic. With J. Parrott, he brought out the book Ashkenazy: Beyond Frontiers (London, 1984). As a master of the keyboard, he has deftly balanced his superlative technique with a penetrating interpretive insight in a broad repertoire. Among the composers he has revealed a remarkable affinity for are Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, and Brahms, as well as many Russian composers, notably Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich. As a conductor, he has demonstrated an assured command of scores from the 19 th and 20 th century orch. literature. He has prepared (1981–82) and conducted his own effective orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition .

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