Vladimir Ashkenazy

Biography

Born: July 6, 1937   Country: Russia  
Vladimir Ashkenazy's father was a professional pianist, but he never taught his son. It was his mother who found Ashkenazy his first teacher at age six. His father was a non-observant Russian Jew, and his mother was a Russian of Eastern Orthodox faith. After his debut in Moscow at the tender age of eight, Ashkenazy was subsequently put on track for a musical career and enrolled in Moscow's Central Music School. His regular piano teacher there was Read more Anaida Sumbatian.

In 1955 he entered the Moscow Conservatory, studying with the great pianist Lev Oborin. In the same year he won second prize in the Fifth Warsaw International Chopin Competition. The following year he won the Gold Medal in the Brussels Queen Elizabeth International piano competition and then toured the United States in 1958. In 1961 he married an Icelandic pianist who was studying in Moscow, Sofia Johannsdottir. He won first prize in the Second Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1962, sharing that honor with British pianist John Ogden. In 1963 Ashkenazy and his wife, travelling on their Soviet passports, went to London, where he made his debut in an orchestral concert at Festival Hall, a great success. He stayed on in England and centered his life and career there, beginning a long association with England's Decca (London) records. He quickly made a reputation as one of the most brilliant pianists in the Russian tradition. In 1971 he moved with his family to Reykjavik, where he was awarded Iceland's Order of the Falcon. In 1972 he took Icelandic citizenship and later established a home base in Switzerland.

He took up the conductor's baton in the 1970s and steadily increased his activity in that sphere, becoming principal guest conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra of London (1981), music director of the Royal Philharmonic of London (1987), principal guest conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra (1987), and chief conductor of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (1989). Between 1998 and 2003, he was the Czech Philharmonic's chief conductor, and he took up leadership of Japan's NHK Symphony Orchestra in the 2004-2005 season, while continuing as music director of the European Union Youth Orchestra. With the end of the Soviet Union, he has made triumphant return concerts in Russia.

His piano playing is bright and incisive, with clear articulation and intellectual depth that does not interfere with the production of warm feeling. He has exceptional control over tone color. Although he possesses a considerable degree of sheer strength, his excellent playing in delicate passages creates the dominant impression. His repertoire is wide-ranging, and he has recorded most of it, from Haydn to the works of the first half of the twentieth century. He has made particularly valuable recordings of the complete piano works of Chopin, Rachmaninov, and Scriabin. Other excellent series include music of Brahms, Liszt, and the complete Prokofiev concertos. As a conductor, he is highly effective in Russian music, particularly in Prokofiev, and has made the leading recording of that composer's Romeo and Juliet. He has made his own orchestration of Musorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and recorded the work in that highly effective version, in Gortchakov's orchestration, and in its original form as a piano solo. He remains active in both careers. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 247 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Rachmaninov: The Complete Works
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002145102 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 32
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Franz Schubert,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  André Previn,  Peter Jablonski,  Mikhail Pletnev  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Kiril Kondrashin,  Stanislaw Wislocki  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Goldner String Quartet,  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $109.98
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  • 2.
    Joshua Bell: 3 Classic Albums
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002131702 Release Date: 09/16/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Max Bruch,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Henri Wieniawski  ... 
    Performer:  Joshua Bell,  Samuel Sanders
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Cleveland Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Tchaikovsky & Chopin / Ingolf Wunder, Vladimir Ashkenazy, St. Petersburg Philharmonic
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002092802 Release Date: 07/15/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Ingolf Wunder
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 1227072 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Ludovico Einaudi,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Nicola Benedetti,  Craig Ogden,  Ji Liu,  Maarten Jansen  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Andrew Litton,  Neeme Järvi,  Riccardo Chailly  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
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  • 5.
    Strauss: Complete Tone Poems & Concertos [13-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002010402 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Arthur David Krehbiel,  Raymond Kobler,  Heinrich Schiff,  Jean-Yves Thibaudet  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt,  Antal Doráti,  Kurt Masur,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  Detroit Symphony Orchestra,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra  ... 
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    CD: $104.49
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  • 6.
    Decca Sound - The Analogue Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001934702 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 54
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Anton Bruckner,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Pascal Rogé,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Marilyn Horne,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Sir Georg Solti,  Bernard Haitink,  Horst Stein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $169.98
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  • 7.
    Flint Juventino Beppe: Remote Galaxy
    Label: Two-l   Catalog: 100 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Flint Juventino Beppe
    Performer:  Ralph Rousseau,  Mark Van de Wiel,  Emily Beynon
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
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  • 8.
    Discover... Beethoven
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001912702 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Arthur Grumiaux,  Henryk Szeryng,  Ingrid Haebler  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Alceo Galliera,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 9.
    Discover... Tchaikovsky
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001912802 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Joshua Bell
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Herbert von Karajan,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Zubin Mehta
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  • 10.
    Chopin: Piano Masterpieces
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564651479 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Maria-Joao Pires,  Elisabeth Leonskaja,  Nikolai Lugansky,  Francois-René Duchable  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
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  • 11.
    Shostakovch: Execution Of Stepan Razin; Zoya Suite / Ashkenazy, Helsinki Phiharmonic
    Label: Ondine   Catalog:  1225-2 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra,  Latvian State Choir
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  • 12.
    Ashkenazy - 50 Years on Decca
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001820202 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Boris Belkin,  Daniel Barenboim,  Fou Ts'ong  ... 
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Lorin Maazel,  Uri Segal  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Wind Soloists  ... 
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  • 13.
    Mozart: Great Piano Concertos / Uchida, Kocsis, Lupu, Previn, Ashkenazy, Zacharias
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2001038 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Mitsuko Uchida,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Homero Francesch,  Heidrun Holtmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeffrey Tate,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Gerd Albrecht,  Marc Andreae  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  German Chamber Philharmonic  ... 
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  • 14.
    Schumann, Dvorak: Cello Concertos / Walton, Ashkenazy, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 322 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Jamie Walton
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 15.
    50 Best Romantic Piano Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 333232 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Edvard Grieg,  Franz Liszt,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Cécile Ousset,  Leif Ove Andsnes,  John Ogdon,  Garrick Ohlsson  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  Mariss Jansons  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rostal & Schaefer Piano Duo
    CD: $11.99
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  • 16.
    Stravinsky: Le Sacre Du Printemps - 100th Anniversary Collectors Edition [20-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001780902 Release Date: 12/11/2012   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
    Performer:  Andrei Gavrilov,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Güher Pekinel,  Süher Pekinel  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Riccardo Chailly,  Pierre Boulez,  Valery Gergiev  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Detroit Symphony Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra,  Kirov Theater Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $129.99
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  • 17.
    Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto Nos. 1 & 3
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001742702 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Jean-Yves Thibaudet
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    CD: $8.99
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  • 18.
    Shostakovich: Piano Concertos Nos.1 & 2; Symphony No.9
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001742202 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Raymond Simmons,  Peter Jablonski,  Cristina Ortiz
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
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  • 19.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5; Serenade For Strings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001742102 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
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  • 20.
    Shostakovich: Symphony No 5 / Ashkenazy, Royal Philharmonic
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001708802 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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    CD: $13.99
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  • 21.
    Stravinsky: Le Sacre Du Printemps / Ashkenazy, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001709002 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
    CD: $13.99
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  • 22.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Capriccio Italien, Romeo and Juliet Overture / Ashkenazy, Royal Philharmonic
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001707402 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
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  • 23.
    Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1; Symphony No. 4
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001707602 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Vladimir Ashkenazy
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  • 24.
    Prokofiev: Sinfonia Concertante, Concertino For Cello / Harrell, Ashkenazy
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 436233 Release Date: 04/03/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Lynn Harrell
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Lutoslawski / Peter Jablonski
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 436239 Release Date: 04/03/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Witold Lutoslawski,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Peter Jablonski
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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