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Sviatoslav Richter

From Academic Kids

Sviatoslav Teofilovich Richter (Святосла́в Теофи́лович Ри́хтер) (March 20, 1915August 1, 1997) was a Soviet pianist of German extraction.

Although born in Zhitomir in Ukraine, Richter grew up in Odessa. Unusually, Richter was largely self-taught. Although his organist father provided him with a basic education in music, Sviatoslav learned simply by playing the masterworks of the repertoire, including the piano scores of Wagner's music dramas. He gave his first recital in 1934 but did not formally study piano until three years later, when he enrolled in the Moscow Conservatory, which waived the entrance exam for the young prodigy. He studied with Heinrich Neuhaus who also taught Emil Gilels, and who claimed Richter to be "the genius pupil, for whom he had been waiting all his life". In 1940, while still a student, he gave the world premiere of the Sonata No. 6 by Sergei Prokofiev, a composer with whose works he was ever after associated. He also became known for skipping compulsory lessons at the conservatory and being expelled twice during his first year.

The West first became aware of Richter through recordings made in the 1950s. He was not allowed to tour the United States until 1960, but when he did, he created a sensation. Touring, however, was not Richter's forte. He preferred an intimate concert venue, and in later years took to playing in small, darkened halls, sometimes with only a small lamp lighting his piano. He died in Moscow while studying for a concert series he was to give.

His repertoire spanned virtually all the major works of the piano repertoire. Among his noted recordings are works by Franz Schubert, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach (whose Wohltemperierte Klavier he is said to have learned by heart in one month), Frederic Chopin, Franz Liszt, Sergei Prokofiev, Sergei Rachmaninoff and countless others. He is said to be the finest interpreter of the piano works of Robert Schumann. He gave the premiere of Prokofiev's Sonata no. 7 (which he learned in just four days before staging a performance of the work), and Prokofiev dedicated his Sonata no. 9 to him. Apart from playing solo he also enjoyed playing chamber music with partners such as David Oistrakh, Benjamin Britten, Pierre Fournier and Mstislav Rostropovich. Sviatoslav Richter can be said to be one of the most legendary, fascinating pianists of the 20th century.

External links

de:Swjatoslaw Teofilowitsch Richter ja:スヴャトスラフ・リヒテル uk:Ріхтер Святослав Теофілович

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