Alexei Sultanov

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Alexei Sultanov
Born (1969-08-07)August 7, 1969
Died June 30, 2005(2005-06-30) (aged 35)
Fort Worth, Texas, US
Genres Classical
Occupations Pianist
Instruments Piano

Alexei Sultanov (Russian: Алексей Султанов; August 7, 1969 – June 30, 2005) was a Russian-American classical pianist of Uzbek origin.


Alexei Sultanov was born to a family of musicians. At the age of 6, he began piano lessons in Tashkent with Tamara Popovich and then was under guidance of Lev Naumov at the Moscow Conservatory. At the age of 13 he was a participant of the International Radio Competition for Young Musicians in Prague.[1] He became famous after winning the Eighth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition on June 11, 1989 at the age of 19.[2] He was the youngest contestant in that year's competition. Listeners were awed by his virtuosic technique, musicality, and dynamic range. After winning the Van Cliburn, he made appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Late Night with David Letterman.

In October 1995, Sultanov won second prize at the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition; the grand prize was not awarded, he was offered a second prize but he refused to accept it.[citation needed]

Strokes and death[edit]

In 1996 he had his first stroke, and despite his refusal was convinced by his wife Dace Abele to visit Ed Kramer, the local neurologist. He checked on him and discovered some small sized black spots which proved to him that the brain got clotted. Despite the stroke he continued his performance in Tokyo, but even there a stroke got him. After that the same neurologist diagnosed him with diastolic heart failure, which was luckily on a low side. On February evening of 2001 he wasn't still at good health. He refused on dinner, and his wife convinced him to eat at least an onion.[3]

After eating the crock of it, he made himself a promise that he wouldn't eat cheese after it, due to his intolerance toward lactose. Unfortunately he couldn't resist the smell of it, and after eating it had a stomach ache. He ran to the bathroom, and while trying to relieve himself from the ache bumped his head on the sink. He and his wife thought it was just a tiny bump that will go away eventually but it didn't.[3]

The strokes have damaged everything except the cerebral cortex and while sitting in a wheelchair he still performed despite aesthetic emotions. On June 28, 2005 when everything came to normal he, his wife and Dace's mother Benita Abele who came from Riga decided to barbecue. Next day he and his wife went to YMCA swimming pool where he used to swim and by the evening set to watch their favorite show called The Real Gilligan's Island. Couple ours later after he went to bed in 10:00 pm he waked up at 4:30 am to let his wife to know to turn him over. By 7:00 am they supposed to go to the lake but she overslept by two hours. When she waked up she tapped him on his shoulder, but he didn't move. It turned out that his body ran out of oxygen. She woke up her mom and together they called 911, which arrived twenty-five minutes later. Despite CPR efforts, the paramedics informed her that her husband had died. He passed away on June 30, 2005 at the age of 35 in Fort Worth.[3]


During his life his music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rachmaninoff were conducted under Maxim Shostakovich at the London Symphony Orchestra and were published under Teldec Classics label while his other albums such as the Fantaisie Impromptu of 1997 and Sultanov plays Chopin which came out two years later were published by the Arts Core Corporation. He also was a part of a PBS documentary called Here to Make Music which was produced by Peter Rosen for US viewers. The film won an award and was aired world wide ever since.[4]


  1. ^ "Alexei Sultanov". Internet Chopin Information Center. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  2. ^ Tim Page (July 11, 2005). "A Pianist Who Played By His Own Rules". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Alexey Koshkin (August 3, 2010). "The life and rebirth of musical mastermind (Alexey Sultanov)". Mikhail Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Alexei Sultanov". Official Site. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 

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