Youri Egorov

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Youri Egorov

Youri Aleksandrovich Egorov (Russian: Юрий Александрович Егоров; 28 May 1954 – 16 April 1988) was a Soviet classical pianist.

Early years[edit]

Born in Kazan, USSR, Youri Egorov studied music at the Kazan Conservatory from the age of 6 until age 17. One of his early teachers was Irina Dubinina, a former pupil of Yakov Zak.[1]

At the age of 17, in 1971, Egorov took 4th Prize in Paris at the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition. He next studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Yakov Zak.[2] Egorov remained at the Moscow Conservatory for six years. In 1974, Egorov won the Bronze Medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. In 1975, he was awarded the 3rd Prize at the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition Of Belgium.

Defection and career in the West[edit]

Egorov defected from the Soviet Union in 1976[3] while on a concert tour in Rome, Italy and travelled to Amsterdam where he was to meet his long term partner.[4]

In 1977 Egorov participated in the Van Cliburn Competition in Fort Worth, Texas. He became an audience favorite. When he was not chosen as a finalist, a group of patrons and Cliburn board members formed an ad-hoc committee led by Cliburn trustee Beverley Taylor Smith and American impresario Maxim Gershunoff, which raised money equal to the Van Cliburn top prize of $10,000 to further Egorov's career by funding a New York debut. The South African Steven DeGroote took the first place award that year. Gershunoff as Egorov's American manager presented his New York recital debut in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on January 23, 1978. Three months later to the day, he appeared in Chicago, Illinois and a critic there dubbed his performance “the debut of the decade.” In July, 1978, Musical America Magazine selected Youri Egorov as their "Musician of the Month". He made his Carnegie Hall debut on December 16, 1978 once again under the aegis of Gershunoff. The concert was recorded live. Writing for The New York Times, Harold C. Schonberg said Egorov played "...in a free, romantic style, and his approach is quite different from that of so many competition winners."

In August 1979, two of Egorov's albums appeared on Billboard Magazine's Best-Selling Classical LP chart. Throughout the 1980s Egorov played primarily in Europe. His last American appearance was in Florida in 1986.

Egorov was featured in the book "Great Contemporary Pianists Speak for Themselves" compiled by Elyse Mach. In it, he spoke candidly on the topics of rehearsal, pre-concert nervousness, artistic restrictions in Russia, and homosexuality. Sviatoslav Richter, Dinu Lipatti, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Vladimir Horowitz and Glenn Gould are among the pianists Youri Egorov cited as having influenced him.

Death and legacy[edit]

Egorov died at his home in Amsterdam from what was believed to be complications of AIDS. Egorov was 33 years old. At the time of his death 14 recordings of his had been commercially issued, and several more were awaiting release.

Parallels have been drawn between the playing styles of Youri Egorov and Dinu Lipatti. Additionally, both men gave their final concert performances at the age of 33, each knowing at the time that he was afflicted with a fatal illness and had but months to live.

In 1989 Egorov was the subject of a VPRO Television documentary, "Youri Egorov 1954 - 1988" by Eline Flipse. The program won the special prize of the jury at the BANFF-televisiefestival in Canada and was nominated in 1990 for the Prix Italia.

Egorov's posthumously released CD, "Legacy 2: Youri Egorov", received the "Perfect Five-Star Rating" from CD Review Magazine.

Recordings[edit]

Year Composer Work Recorded at CD, record or website
1974 Tchaikovsky The Seasons (1875-1876) Opus 37b VARA Studio 1, Hilversum Radio 4 Concerthuis
1974 Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.3 in Es major Opus 75, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, conductor Roberto Benzi Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Radio 4 Concerthuis
1975 Maes Piano Concerto, Symphonic Orchestra RTBF, conductor Irwin Hoffman Queen Elisabeth Music Competition BOZAR, Brussels Deutsche Grammophon 2530 602
1976 Bach Italian Concerto F major BWV 971 Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal, Amsterdam Radio 4 Concerthuis
1976 Bach The well-tempered clavier Book 1: No.13 in F sharp major BWV 857 CD Astoria Stereo DP 87001
1976 Bach The well-tempered clavier Book 1: No.24 in b minor BWV 869 CD Astoria Stereo DP 87001
1976 Chopin Etude in E major Opus 10 No.3 ‘Tristesse’ or ‘L’ adieu’ Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Radio 4 Concerthuis
1976 Chopin Etude in cis minor Opus 10 No.4 ‘Torrent’ Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Radio 4 Concerthuis
1976 Chopin Scherzo No.2 in b flat minor Opus 31 Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Radio 4 Concerthuis
1976 Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No.2 in g minor Opus 22 (1868), Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, conductor Guido Ajmone-Marsan Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Radio 4 Concerthuis
1976 Scarlatti Sonata for harpsichord in G major K 125 Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Radio 4 Concerthuis
1976 Scarlatti Sonata for harpsichord in d minor K 32 Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Radio 4 Concerthuis
1976 Scarlatti Sonata for harpsichord in A major K 322 Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Radio 4 Concerthuis
1976 Scarlatti Sonata for harpsichord in E major K 380 Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Radio 4 Concerthuis
1976 Scarlatti Sonata for harpsichord in F major K 518 Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Radio 4 Concerthuis
1976 Scarlatti Sonata for harpsichord in b minor K 87 Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Radio 4 Concerthuis
1978 Beethoven Piano Concerto No.3 in c minor, Opus 37, Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Hans Vonk Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam NOS
1978 Bach Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in d minor BWV 903 Carnegie Hall, New York EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1978 Beethoven Choral Fantasy in c minor Opus 80, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, conductor Willem van Otterloo Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Radio 4 Concerthuis
1978 Chopin Etude in E major Opus 10 No.3 ‘Tristesse’ or ‘L’ adieu’ Carnegie Hall, New York EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1978 Chopin Etude in G flat major Opus 10 No.5 ‘Black Keys’ Carnegie Hall, New York EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1978 Chopin Fantasy in f minor Opus 49 Carnegie Hall, New York EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1978 Liszt La Campanella S 141 TV Studio, Baden-Baden Website Youri Egorov Foundation
1978 Mozart Fantasy in c minor KV 475 Carnegie Hall, New York EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1978 Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Opus 43, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, conductor Willem van Otterloo Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Radio 4 Concerthuis
1978 Schumann Kreisleriana Opus 16 Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal, Amsterdam EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1978 Schumann Novellettes Opus 21 No.1 and 8 Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal, Amsterdam EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1979 Chopin Etudes Opus 10 and 25 New York Musical Heritage Society 4493
1979 Schumann Fantasy in C major Opus 17 The Netherlands Globe GLO 6015
1979 Tsjaikovski Piano Concerto No.1 in b minor Opus 23, Concertgebouw Orchestra, conductor Antal Doráti RAI, Amsterdam
1980 Bach Partita No.6 BWV 830 Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Legacy 2 Canal Grande CG 9214
1980 Bartók Sonata (1926)BB 88 Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Legacy 2 Canal Grande CG 9214
1980 Chopin Etudes Opus 10 Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Legacy 2 Canal Grande CG 9214
1981 Bartók Sonata No.2 for violin and piano Opus 21 (1923) Emmy Verhey, violin Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal, Amsterdam MP3 Download
1981 Brahms Sonata No.3 for piano and violin in d minor Opus 108 (1886/88) Emmy Verhey, violin Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal, Amsterdam MP3 Download
1981 Chopin Fantasy in f minor Opus 49 Abbey Road Studios, London EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1981 Chopin Nocturne in D flat major Opus 27 No.2 Abbey Road Studios, London EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1981 Chopin Nocturne in e minor Opus Posth. No.1 Abbey Road Studios, London EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1981 Chopin Nocturne in F sharp major Opus 15 No.2 Abbey Road Studios, London EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1981 Chopin Scherzo No.2 in b flat minor Opus 31 Abbey Road Studios, London EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1981 Haydn Sonata No.33 Hoboken XVI/20 Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Legacy 4 Canal Grande CG 9216
1981 Prokofiev Sonata No.8 in B major Opus 84 (1939-1944) Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Legacy 3 Canal Grande CG 9215
1981 Schubert Sonata for violin and piano in A major DV 574 (1817), Emmy Verhey, violin Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal, Amsterdam MP3 Download
1981 Schumann Papillons Opus 2 Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal, Amsterdam EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1982 Beethoven Andante Favori in F major Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Legacy 4 Canal Grande CG 9216
1982 Beethoven Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat major Opus 73 'Emperor', Philharmonia Orchestra, conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch Abbey Road Studios, London EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1982 Chopin Ballade No.1 in g minor Opus 23 Abbey Road Studios, London EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1982 Schubert Sonata in c minor DV 958 Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam ET'CETERA KTC 1468
1982 Schumann Carnaval Opus 9 EMI Records Ltd. EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1982 Schumann Toccata Opus 7 EMI Records Ltd. EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1982 Chopin Piano Concerto No.2 in f minor, Opus 21, Utrecht Symfony Orchestra, conductor David Zinman Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Veronica Merken BV
1983 Brahms 6 Pieces for piano Intermezzo in a minor Opus 118 TROS Philips Essential Recordings 464 375-2
1982 Brahms Piano Concerto No.1 in d minor Opus 15, Utrecht Symfony Orchestra, conductor David Zinman Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam
1983 Brahms 6 Pieces for piano Intermezzo in A major Opus 118 TROS Philips Essential Recordings 464 375-2
1983 Brahms 6 Pieces for piano Intermezzo in f minor Opus 118 TROS Philips Essential Recordings 464 375-2
1983 Debussy Estampes (1903) L 100 Abbey Road Studios, London EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1983 Debussy Images Book 1, No.1 Reflets dans l'eau L 110 Abbey Road Studios, London EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1983 Debussy Préludes Book 1 & 2 - L 117 & L 123 Abbey Road Studios, London EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1983 Shostakovich Sonata No.2 Opus 64 (1942) Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam Legacy 3 Canal Grande CG 9215
1985 Mozart Piano Concerto No.17 in G major KV 453, Philharmonia Orchestra, conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch Abbey Road Studios, London EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1985 Mozart Piano Concerto No.20 in d minor KV 466, Philharmonia Orchestra, conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch Abbey Road Studios, London EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1985 Schumann Arabeske Opus 18 Abbey Road Studios, London EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1985 Schumann Bunte Blätter Opus 99 Abbey Road Studios, London EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1986 Babadjanjan Bilder für Piano (1965) De IJsbreker, Amsterdam Legacy 3 Canal Grande CG 9215
1987 Beethoven Andante Favori in F major VARA Studio 1, Hilversum Legacy 4 Canal Grande CG 9216
1987 Brahms Piano quintet in f minor Opus 34, Glinka Quartet Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal, Amsterdam Radio 4 Concerthuis
1987 Ravel Miroirs Opus 43 De IJsbreker, Amsterdam
1987 Schubert Piano Quintet in A major ‘Trout Quintet’ D 667, Orlando Quartet Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal, Amsterdam NCRV
1987 Schubert 6 Moments Musicaux DV 780 Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal, Amsterdam ET'CETERA KTC 1468
1988 Brahms 6 Pieces for piano Opus 118 Private recording Website Youri Egorov Foundation

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mach, Elyse. "Great Contemporary Pianists Speak for Themselves" Dover Publications 1991. Pg 46. (ISBN 0-486-26695-8)
  2. ^ Gershunoff, Maxim, and Leon Van Dyke. "It's Not All Song and Dance: A Life Behind the Scenes in the Performing Arts." Pompton Plains, N.J.: Limelight Editions, 2005. Pg 137-138. (ISBN 0-879-10310-8)
  3. ^ Rockwell, John (20 April 1988). "Youri Egorov, 33, a Soviet Pianist Who Defected to Further His Art". New York Times. p. 9. Retrieved 24 January 2009. 
  4. ^ David Patrick Stearns (2008-08-19). "Recalling a pianist's fleeting brilliance". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. E01. The combination of bad habits and sheltered existence perhaps explains why, on seeking political asylum during a tour in Italy, he cluelessly took his case to the Communist police. Somehow, he was treated sympathetically, and made his way to Amsterdam (a fine place for practicing bad habits), where he's said to have been discovered sleeping on a park bench by the man who later became his partner. Though Egorov's stated reasons for emigrating were political, they in fact had more to with sexual politics. Gay bashing wasn't a common term then, but muggings he described in Moscow more or less amounted to that. 
  • Brokken, Jan. "Met Musici: Elf portretten" Uitgeverij De Arbeiderspers Amsterdam 1988. (ISBN 90-295-0794-2)
  • Brokken, Jan. "In het huis van de dichter" Uitgeverij Atlas Amsterdam 2008. (ISBN 9789045014821)

External links[edit]