An artist of phenomenal powers, Műza Rubackyté (pronounced roo-BAHT-skee-tay) did not become known in the West until perestroika allowed her departure from the Soviet Union in 1989. In 1981, at 22, she took Grand Prize at the Liszt/Bartók International Competition in Budapest, a rapturously welcomed exposure to Western audiences leading to contracts for worldwide tours and championship by Antal Dorati -- which came to nothing when her passportRead more was withheld. Her career began in the way familiar with prodigies -- her mother and grandmother were pianists, her father an opera singer, and training began when she could reach the keys; studies in Lithuania at the School for Gifted Children; a debut with the Lithuanian National Philharmonic at age seven; studies at the Vilnius Conservatory (1973-1976); and numerous prize-takings in Lithuania. Admitted to the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in 1976, she studied with Flier, Davidovich, and Voskressensky until 1982. Reaping the displeasure of Soviet authorities, her recital career in the years 1982-1989 was largely spent touring Siberia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan, revealing her mesmerizing art in unheated classrooms and at workers' shift breaks, relieved by rare concerts in Moscow or St. Petersburg and the occasional stint with Lithuanian orchestras. Her international career dates from 1990 with First Prize at the prestigious Grands Maîtres Français competition and domicile in Paris, where she serves as the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture's ambassador. She tours widely, visiting the United States, Latin America, England, Holland, and Germany frequently, though her main axis of activity lies between Paris and Prague. Her tours are often accompanied by master classes, and she participates annually in a master class through the Moscow Conservatory. Her few recordings, mainly of Liszt -- notably, the Sonata, Paganini Études, and the Années de pčlerinage -- have established her as a divinatory interpreter, indeed, one of the greatest Lisztians in the annals of recorded performance, even as they have obscured her much wider repertoire, which embraces some 30 concertos; Scarlatti, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms; French composers (e.g., Fauré, Debussy, Ravel, Roussel, Messiaen); as well as the expected Tchaikovsky, Scriabin, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich. Her two-CD survey of the music of her compatriot Mikalojus Ciurlionis is a labor of love revealing that composer as a compelling prophet of the technical and visionary directions twentieth century music would take following his early death in 1911. Her performances are characterized by an infallible sense of development, or narrative, richly colored, lyrically alive, spontaneous yet ŕ la lettre, projected with a fluently omnicompetent ease that renders discussions of "technique" superfluous. Read less
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