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Vladimir Horowitz - Legendary Pianist

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Vladimir Horowitz, pianist

Vladimir Horowitz, pianist

Keystone/Getty

Born:

October 1, 1903 - Kiev, Ukraine

Died:

November 5, 1989 - New York City, NY

Vladimir Horowitz Trivia:

  • Vladimir was known for his demanding practice schedule. It is noted that he might have said, "If I don't practice for a day, I know it. If I don't practice for two days, my wife knows it. If I don't practice for three days, the world knows it."
  • Horowitz left Russia in 1928 to perform in the United States. He never saw his family again.
  • Horowitz married the daughter of the great conductor Arturo Toscanini.
  • Horowitz' father took a year off Horowitz' age in order to avoid military enlistment. He didn't want Horowitz to lose his fingers!
  • Horowitz has won 25 Grammy's including best classical performance and album of the year.

Horowitz Family Background:

Vladimir Horowitz was born to Simeon Horowitz, an electrical engineer, and Sophie Bodik, a proficient pianist.

Horowitz Childhood and Teenage Years:

While he was a child, Horowitz' mother began teaching him piano after she noticed he possessed a natural gift for it. She taught him several years before entering him into the Kiev Conservatory in 1912. At the conservatory he was taught by Vladimir Puchalsky, Sergei Tarnowsky, and Felix Blumenfeld until graduating in 1919. On May 30, 1920, at only sixteen years old, Horowitz gave his first solo recital. Two years later, he gave a series of fifteen concerts in Kharkov earning food and clothing instead of money. It was during these initial concerts that Horowitz began building his reputation.

Horowtiz Early Adult Years:

After completing several extremely successful concerts in Moscow, Kiev, and Leningrad, Horowitz took his career internationally. His first international concert took place in Berlin in 1926; concerts in London, Hamburg, and Paris quickly followed. His fame spread like wild fire. In 1928, Horowitz was approached by an American concert manager named Arthur Judson after one of his performances in France. Judson signed Horowitz to perform a series of concerts in the United States. Horowitz' American concert tour solidified his fame, fortune, and unparalleled reputation.

Horowitz Mid-Adult Years:

His superb piano playing earned him a call from the White House in 1931, as he was asked to perform for President Hoover. In 1932, he met and performed for the first time with conductor, Arturo Toscanini. In 1933, Horowitz married Toscanini's daughter, Wanda, and while they were unable to speak each other's native language, they both could speak French. During this stage in his life, Horowitz' fear of performing became more apparent, often canceling shows at the last minute. In 1953, he retired from the stage, but made several recordings from his home.

Horowitz Late Adult Years:

Despite his absence, his popularity remained afloat by his recordings. In an effort to overcome his anxieties, Horowitz received several shock therapies, neither showing major improvement. Despite his fear, Horowitz performed in several televised performances and signed with several record labels, recording a slew of albums during the 60's and 70's. He returned to Russia in 1986, to perform several concerts. His historic return was met with great enthusiasm as it marked a time when ties between the US and Russia were strengthened. Three years later, Horowitz died from a massive heart attack in his home in New York.

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