Vladimir Horowitz

Russian-born American pianist (born 1903, Kiev - died 1989, New York)

A internationally-renowned virtuoso for over 50 years, Vladimir Horowitz is one of the 20th century's greatest pianists. His playing is characterised by great precision, dazzling virtuosity and a rich, powerful tone.

After receiving his initial grounding in piano from his mother, herself a pianist, Vladimir Horowitz was inspired by the music and technique of Alexander Scriabin, a family friend and his uncle's teacher. He entered the Kiev conservatory in 1912, where he studied with pianists Sergei Tarnowsky, Vladimir Puchalsky and Felix Blumenfeld, who passed on to him the tradition of Anton Rubinstein. During his student years, he started composing his own music and arranging and adapting the repertoire.
In the 1920s, Vladimir Horowitz began a successful career as a touring pianist, first in the Soviet Union then in Hamburg, Berlin and Paris.
In 1928, Vladimir Horowitz crossed the Atlantic to perform his first concert with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. He met Sergei Rachmaninov, who was impressed by the performance of his third concerto and became a close friend and fervent admirer of the pianist. After World War II, Vladimir Horowitz decided to remain in the United States and in 1944 became an American citizen.

After a lengthy period of depression, Vladimir Horowitz resumed his career as a concert pianist in 1965, marking his return with a recital at Carnegie Hall. He continued to give concerts and make recordings until his death in 1989, and even returned to the USSR in 1986 to give a concert in Moscow, after having lived in exile for 61 years.

Some of his favourite composers were Scarlatti, Clementi, Liszt, Chopin, Rachmaninov and Mussorgsky.

Six landmark dates in the life of Vladimir Horowitz:

 • 1920: first concert in Kiev
• 1925: left Russia definitively
• 1928: made his first recordings
• 1933: married Wanda Toscanini, daughter of the orchestra conductor Arturo Toscanini
• 1943: history-making performance of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, conducted by Toscanini
• 1986: returned to the URSS to give a concert in Moscow after 61 years in exile 

Six key recordings by Vladimir Horowitz:

 Boxed set
Vladimir Horowitz: Franz Liszt, Johann Sebastian Bach, Frederic Chopin. The complete recordings on Deutsche Grammophon, 2003

 Vladimir Horowitz: Schumann, Debussy, Moszkowski
Recital at Carnegie Hall on 16 November 1975
RCA, 2003

 Vladimir Horowitz: Domenico ScarlattiSonates pour piano
​Sony Classical, 2010

 Vladimir Horowitz: Robert Schumann
Sony Classical, 2006

 Horowitz plays Scriabin, live recital
Sony Classical, 2003

 Vladimir Horowitz plays Rachmaninoff: Concerto No. 3, Sonata No. 2
New York Philharmonic
Eugene Ormandy
RCA, 2000

Official website