Historical interpretations of Friderick Chopin works

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Aleksander Braiłowski - biography


Alexander Brailowsky, an American (or French according to some sources) pianist of Russian decent, was born on 16 February 1896 in Kiev, and died on 25 April 1976 in New York. His musical gift was revealed in his early childhood. His first piano lessons were taught by his father, an amateur pianist, who using the method of entertainment and competition could teach the five-year-old to manipulate all his fingers. He continued his education at the conservatory in Kiev in the piano class under Wlodzimierz Puchalski, a pupil of Theodor Leschetizky. The young pianist was introduced to Sergey Rachmaninoff, who having heard the boy playing foretold a great virtuoso career for him. In 1911 he went to Vienna and until 1914 he studied under Theodor Leschetizky. During the World War I he lived in Switzerland continuing education in piano playing under Ferruccio Busoni in Zurich. He began his international career with the debut in Paris in 1919. He performed in Europe, also in Poland, the USA, Argentina and Brazil, where he had become so popular that his audiences from remote places were driven to his concerts by special trains. In 1923 he spent two months in Annecy in France to prepare 6 recitals with all piano pieces by Frédéric Chopin. This cycle was first presented in 1924 in Paris and later in London, New York, and in Brazil and Mexico. His second favourite composer was F. Liszt. As a virtuoso he could meet all expectations of his audiences who simply adored him. His elegant playing, clear phrasing and expressive interpretations captivated the audience, although critics would sometimes accuse his performances of shallowness. The pianist himself claimed that he had never known how a particular piece should be interpreted until the very last moment when he let his inner inspiration improvise. On the invitation of the Belgian Queen the pianist frequently performed in Brussels, very often with the Queen, an amateur violinist, accompanying him. In 1936 in Belgium young pianists were founded a special prize under his name. He also sat on the jury of many piano competitions including the Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels. From 1936 to 1938 he toured in the USA, where he played Chopin's music. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Chopin's birthday in 1960, he renewed his Chopin recital cycles in Brussels and in New York. In 1962 he went on a concert tour to Russia. He performed with the foremost conductors and orchestras. His performances of Chopin and Liszt's works were recorded by Polydor, Decca, Gramophone, HMV, RCA Victor and CBS.

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