Simon Barere (Russian: Симон Барер; 1 September [O.S. 20 August] 1896 – 2 April 1951) was a renowned Russian pianist. His Russian surname Барер is transliterated Barer, however, as an adult he changed the spelling to Barere in order to reduce the frequency of mispronunciation.
Barere was born in Odessa (then Russian Empire, now part of Ukraine) as the eleventh of thirteen children in a Jewish family. He studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory under Anna Yesipova and then Felix Blumenfeld. Famed pianist Vladimir Horowitz was also a pupil of Felix Blumenfeld, although Barere was Blumenfeld's preferred student. After graduation, he played concerts throughout the region and taught at the Kiev Conservatory. He emigrated to Berlin, then to Sweden, and finally to the United States. During the autumn of 1935, he toured the UK under the management of Harold Holt, making a number of appearances as supporting artist to Richard Tauber. In 1985, his complete HMV recordings, made at Abbey Road Studios between 1934 and 1936, were remastered by Bryan Crimp and issued by APR.
Barere was especially known for his legendary speed and finger dexterity; his rendition of Balakirev's Islamey and many other recordings were renowned for virtuosic brilliance. According to noted music critic Harold C. Schonberg, Barere was more than a scorching virtuoso: he produced a colourful piano tone and could also be highly musical.
Barere gave annual recitals at Carnegie Hall which were often recorded by the pianist's son, Boris. Among the more famous performances recorded live in 1947 at Carnegie Hall is Liszt's Sonata in B minor, which was released on Remington Records in the 1950s. Other noteworthy Barere performances include Liszt's Spanish Rhapsody, Reminiscences de Don Juan and Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12, Blumenfeld's Étude for the Left Hand Alone, and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2.
On 2 April 1951, Barere suffered a cerebral hemorrhage during a performance of Grieg's Piano Concerto at Carnegie Hall, with Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra. Barere subsequently collapsed and died backstage shortly thereafter.
- "Simon Barere Performs Balakirev's Islamey" on YouTube
- "Highlights of Simon Barere's Pianistic Passion & Fury" on YouTube
- Harold C. Schonberg, The Great Pianists from Mozart to the Present, Second Edition, Simon & Schuster, 1987
- Simon Barere's Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Balakirev, Chopin on Remington Records.
- Recordings by Simon Barere available through Amazon.