Alexis Weissenberg

Alexis Sigismond Weissenberg (Bulgarian: Алексис Сигизмунд Вайсенберг) (26 July 1929 – 8 January 2012) was a Bulgarian-born French pianist.[1][2]

Flickr - Government Press Office (GPO) - Prodigy Pianist Sigi Weissenberg
Alexis Weissenberg, 1947

Early life and career

Born into a Jewish family in Sofia, Bulgaria, Weissenberg began taking piano lessons at the age of three from Pancho Vladigerov, a Bulgarian composer. He gave his first public performance at the age of eight.

In 1941, he and his mother tried to escape from German-occupied Bulgaria for Turkey, but were caught and imprisoned in a makeshift concentration camp in Bulgaria for three months. A German guard – who had enjoyed hearing Alexis play Schubert on the accordion – hurriedly took him and his mother to the train station, throwing the accordion to him through the window and told them, "Good luck". They safely arrived in Istanbul a day later.[3]

In 1945, they emigrated to Palestine, where Weissenberg studied under Leo Kestenberg and performed Beethoven with the Israel Philharmonic under the direction of Leonard Bernstein. In 1946, Weissenberg went to the Juilliard School to study with Olga Samaroff. He also studied with Artur Schnabel and Wanda Landowska.

In 1947, Weissenberg made his New York debut with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and George Szell in Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 and with Philadelphia Orchestra and Eugene Ormandy, with which Weissenberg won the Leventritt Competition. Between 1957 and 1965, he took an extended sabbatical for the purpose of studying and teaching. Weissenberg resumed his career in 1966 with a recital in Paris. Later that year he played Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in Berlin conducted by Herbert von Karajan, who praised him as "one of the best pianists of our time".

Weissenberg gave piano master classes all over the world. With his Piano Master Class in Engelberg (Switzerland), he had as students many pianists of the new generation: Kirill Gerstein, Simon Mulligan, Mehmet Okonsar [1], Nazzareno Carusi, Andrey Ponochevny, Loris Karpell, and Roberto Carnevale among them. He composed piano music and a musical, Nostalgie, that was premiered at the State Theatre of Darmstadt on 17 October 1992.

Weissenberg died on 8 January 2012 at the age of 82 in Lugano, Switzerland after suffering from Parkinson's Disease.[4] He was survived by three children, David, Cristina and Maria.[5]

Recorded works

Bryce Morrison, in "Gramophone", described his early 1970s recording of the Liszt Sonata in B minor as one of the most exciting and also lyrical renditions of the work. His readings of Schumann, Rachmaninoff, and many works by Frédéric Chopin (including his complete works for piano and orchestra, Piano Sonatas No. 2 & 3, nocturnes, and waltzes) are also very well known.

Among his other notable interpretations were those of Johannes Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1, with Carlo Maria Giulini and Riccardo Muti, ("Les Introuvables d'Alexis Weissenberg", 2004), Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic, as well as his Piano Concerto No. 3 with Georges Prêtre and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Seiji Ozawa with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (also with Leonard Bernstein and the Orchestre National de France).

His 1965 film recording of Stravinsky's Three Movements from Petrushka (directed by Åke Falck) was also highly praised. When Karajan watched the movie, he immediately invited Weissenberg to participate in a filmed performance of the Tchaikovsky First Concerto, replacing Sviatoslav Richter.[6]

Selected discography

Audio

  • Bach: Goldberg Variations
  • Bach: Jesu bleibet meine Freude (Choral - aus: Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben BWV 147), Orfeo (CD)
  • Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 2 with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra RCA
  • Beethoven: The Five Piano Concertos with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra EMI (3 CDs)
  • Beethoven: Piano Sonatas: "Pathétique, Moonlight and Appassionata"
  • Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 (two recordings, with Carlo Maria Giulini and Riccardo Muti, EMI
  • Brahms: Rhapsodie g-Moll op. 79 Nr. 2, Orfeo (CD)
  • Brahms: Étude F-Dur, Orfeo (CD)
  • Brahms: Sonatas for violin & piano Nos. 1–3, with Anne-Sophie Mutter. EMI (CD)
  • Chopin: Piano Sonata No. 3, Ballade No. 4, Nocturnes. SWR Music (CD)
  • Chopin: Works for piano and orchestra. EMI (2 CDs)
  • Chopin: The Nocturnes. EMI
  • Chopin: Piano Sonata Nos. 2 and 3 EMI
  • Debussy: Estampes, Suite Bergamasque, Children's Corner, L'Isle Joyeuse, etc. on Deutsche Grammophon
  • Debussy: Piano works. Deutsche Grammophon (CD)
  • Franck: Symphonic Variations for piano and orchestra (with Herbert von Karajan and The Berlin Philharmonic)
  • Haydn: Sonatas Hob.XVI/20,37 & 52, RCA (LP)
  • Liszt: Piano sonata in B minor. Einsatz Records, Japan
  • Liszt: Valse impromptu A-Dur, Orfeo (CD)
  • Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 9 and 21 with Giulini and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra
  • Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition, Orfeo (CD)
  • Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition, EMI
  • Prokofiev: Piano concerto No.3 – Seiji Ozawa, Orchestre de Paris
  • Rachmaninoff: Complete Preludes. RCA (CD)
  • Rachmaninoff: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1, 2. Deutsche Grammophon (CD)
  • Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2 (with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, 1972)
  • Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3 (three different recordings, with Georges Pretre, Seiji Ozawa and Leonard Bernstein)
  • Ravel: Piano concerto – Seiji Ozawa, Orchestre de Paris
  • Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin, Orfeo (CD)
  • Scarlatti: Sonatas (A selection of 15) on Deutsche Grammophon
  • Schumann: Fantasie, op. 17. Orfeo (CD)
  • Schumann: "Carnaval" op.9, "Kinderszenen", Op. 15 (Toshiba-EMI)

Video

  • Alexis Weissenberg DVD: Classic Archive 2008 – Bach, Brahms, Chopin, Prokofiev, Stravinsky.
  • YouTube: Alexander Scriabin, Nocturne for the Left Hand, Opus 9, No. 2, Alexis Weissenberg (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJ57eF_D4qA)

Books

  • Gustl Breuer/Henno Lohmeyer (Hrsg.): »Alexis Weissenberg. Ein kaleidoskopisches Porträt«. Rembrandt Verlag, Berlin 1977.
  • Lettre d'Alexis Weissenberg à Bernard Gavoty, 1966
  • Weissenberg – Drei Interviews – 2012, Sofia

References

  1. ^ "Alexis Weissenberg, Pianist of Fire and Ice, Dies at 82". The New York Times. January 9, 2012.
  2. ^ "Alexis Weissenberg". The Daily Telegraph. January 10, 2012.
  3. ^ "Alexis Weissenberg obituary". Los Angeles Times. 2012-01-10. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  4. ^ Margalit Fox (2012-01-09). "Alexis Weissenberg, Pianist of Fire and Ice, Dies at 82". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-11-14.
  5. ^ Barry Millington (2012-01-12). "Alexis Weissenberg obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-09-24.
  6. ^ Sarah Kirkup (2012-01-10). "Pianist Alexis Weissenberg has died". Gramophone. Retrieved 2015-01-09.

External links

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Anna Gourari quickly gained renown by winning important competitions:

1986 1st prize at the Kabalevsky competition in Russia

1989 1st prize at the First International Chopin competition in Göttingen.

1994 1st prize at the First International Clara-Schumann-Klavierconcours in Düsseldorf. Jury: Martha Argerich, Alexis Weissenberg, Nelson Freire, Vladimir Ashkenazy a.o.This last prize marked the beginning of her international acceptance. As of that year, Gourari has played a significant role on the international concert scene. She often performs together with leading orchestras under conductors such as Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, etc.

In 2001 she played a star role in Werner Herzog's movie Invincible.

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Culture of Bulgaria

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The oldest treasure of worked gold in the world, dating back to the 5th millennium BC, comes from the site of the Varna Necropolis.

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Bulgaria's contribution to humanity continued throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with individuals such as John Atanasoff — a United States citizen of Bulgarian and British descent, regarded as the father of the digital computer. A number of noted opera-singers (Nicolai Ghiaurov, Boris Christoff, Raina Kabaivanska, Ghena Dimitrova, Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Vesselina Kasarova), pianist Alexis Weissenberg, and successful artists (Christo, Pascin, Vladimir Dimitrov) popularized the culture of Bulgaria abroad.

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List of South-East European Jews

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The live performance, published on CD by Decca, received rave reviews: "A perfect blend of the lush pianism of Alexis Weissenberg and the laser-like focus of Glenn Gould." (Libero). "If she stays on this path, Maria Perrotta seems destined to become the Italian Rosalyn Tureck." (Corriere della Sera).

In 2013 Decca released a CD of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas Opp. 109, 110 and 111 played live by Maria Perrotta. The recording was acclaimed in leading musical magazines, including Gramophone, and in major newspapers: "Where Pollini is fast and formalistic, Perrotta is analytical and expressive, but, like Pollini, always maintains a sense of formal unity.".A child prodigy, she made her debut with a symphony orchestra at the age of 11 performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1. She has won top prizes in several international competitions, including the triennial International Piano Competition J. S. Bach, and has broadcast on Sky TV and on German and Italian radio.

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Michel Block

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In one of the most famous of all competition incidents, Block won the Arthur Rubinstein Prize in Warsaw at the 1960 International Chopin Piano Competition. As a contestant in that year's competition, he was only placed eleventh. Outraged with this result, Arthur Rubinstein created a special prize bearing his name on the spot, which carried with it the money corresponding to the second prize, and awarded it to Block. Two years later, Michel Block won the Leventritt Competition in New York, adding his name to the illustrious list of winners, among which Alexis Weissenberg, Van Cliburn, Eugene Istomin, etc.

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Pancho Vladigerov

Pancho Haralanov Vladigerov [ˈpantʃo xaraˈɫaŋov vɫadiˈɡɛr̩ov] (or Wladigeroff, or Wladigerow, or Vladiguerov, or Vladigueroff; Bulgarian: Панчо Хараланов Владигеров; 13 March 1899 – 8 September 1978) was a Bulgarian composer, pedagogue, and pianist.

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Prelude in E-flat major (Rachmaninoff)

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Weissenberg

Weissenberg or Weißenberg may refer to:

Weißenberg, a town in Saxony, Germany

the scene of the Battle of White Mountain

Weißenberg (Frankenweide), a hill in Rhineland-Pfalz, Germany

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