Emil Gilels

Biography

Born: October 19, 1916; Odessa, Russia   Died: October 14, 1985; Moscow, Russia  
Emil Gilels was one of the great pianists of history. He was a master of a wide repertory from the time of Bach to his own era, and one of the first pianists to adopt a modern, more objective style of playing and interpreting music.

His family was musical; his sister Elizaveta had a national reputation as a solo and chamber violinist, and married fellow violinist Leonid Kogan. Emil entered the Odessa Institute of Music and Drama in 1922
Read more to study with Yakov Tkatch and Berthe Ringold. Following a successful debut as a child prodigy in 1929, he transferred to study with Reingbald at Odessa Conservatory. (Some biographies confuse Ringold and Reingbald.)

In 1933 he won the first All Union Musicians' Contests, initiating its rapid rise to become the leading musical performance competition in the U.S.S.R. Even with this success, he carefully continued his education, remaining at Odessa Conservatory until he graduated in 1935. After that he continued his studies as a graduate student at the Moscow Conservatory with Heinrich Neuhaus.

In 1938 he took another prestigious first prize at the Ysa˙e International Festival in Brussels. In the same year he was engaged as a teacher at Moscow Conservatory. He planned to launch his international career in 1939, beginning with a visit to the New York World's Fair, but the outbreak of World War II in Europe prevented his travel.

During the war he was evacuated to the East in 1941 when the German armies reached the outskirts of Moscow. He resumed his career in 1946, and soon won the Stalin Prize. He finally made his first appearance outside the Soviet Union in 1947, when he visited several European cities, but frigid diplomatic relations between Washington and Moscow prevented his appearance in the United States until 1955, when he became the first prominent Soviet performing artist to play a concert there on October 3, with the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto in Philadelphia, Eugene Ormandy conducting. The resulting storm of acclaim led to his returning to the U.S. 13 more times.

He debuted in England in 1959 to similar success. He became known for his refined yet powerful performances of great concentration and attention to the inner logic of the music. He was noted for his performances of Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, and Shostakovich. He made numerous recordings, both for the Soviet state recording agencies (many of which are reappearing in improved sound on compact disc) and on Western labels. He was a two-time recipient the Order of Lenin. Read less
Emil Gilels: The Complete RCA & Columbia Album Collection
Release Date: 09/30/2016   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 517731   Number of Discs: 7
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Browse 1-25 of 105 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Brahms: 4 Ballades & 7 Fantasias / Gilels [Vinyl]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: B002559601 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    LP: $24.99
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  • 2.
    Emil Gilels: 100th Anniversary Edition
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: MELCD1002433 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Alexander Alyabyev,  Arno Babadjanyan,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    CD: $499.99
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  • 3.
    Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 10 & 27 / Gilels, Bohm, Vienna Philharmonic [Vinyl]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: B002559701 Release Date: 10/14/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Elena Gilels,  Emil Gilels
    Conductor:  Karl Böhm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Emil Gilels: The Complete RCA & Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 517731 Release Date: 09/30/2016   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Schubert,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Eugene Ormandy,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
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  • 5.
    The Originals, Vol. 2
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002534902 Release Date: 09/09/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Helmut Walcha,  Nathan Milstein,  Géza Anda,  Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Eugen Jochum,  Wolfgang Schneiderhan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $131.98
    CD: $124.99
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  • 6.
    Emil Gilels: The Seattle Recital
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002536902 Release Date: 08/19/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    CD: $14.99
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  • 7.
    100 Best Classics
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 556480 Release Date: 08/05/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Barry Tuckwell,  Mikhail Rudy,  Maria-Joao Pires  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Kent Nagano,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Alberto Lysy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Lysy,  St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 8.
    Slavonic Piano Masterpieces of the 20th Century / Gilels
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 250327 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Scriabin,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
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  • 9.
    Schubert: The Edition, Vol. 1
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002447802 Release Date: 02/12/2016   Number of Discs: 39
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Elena Kremer,  Emil Gilels,  Oleg Maisenberg,  Valery Afanassiev  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Eduard Melkus,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Melos String Quartet Stuttgart,  Amadeus Quartet  ... 
    On sale! $116.98
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  • 10.
    Emil Gilels - The Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002436502 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Edvard Grieg,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels,  Norbert Brainin,  Peter Schidlof,  Martin Lovett  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugen Jochum,  Karl Böhm,  Dmitri Kabalevsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus String Quartet members,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $78.99
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  • 11.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 12.
    Emil Gilels In Prague
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 250309 Release Date: 08/14/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    CD: $23.99
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  • 13.
    Emil Gilels In Leningrad
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1300 Release Date: 07/24/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    CD: $9.99
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  • 14.
    111 - The Piano - Legendary Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002281002 Release Date: 04/21/2015   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Géza Anda,  Martha Argerich,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    CD: $168.99
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  • 15.
    Emil Gilels Plays Bach, Vol. 2
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002224 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Emil Gilels,  Yakov Zak,  Nikolai Kharkovsky,  Elizaveta Gillels
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin
    CD: $18.99
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  • 16.
    The Originals - Legendary Recordings from DG
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002171502 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Pierre Fournier,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  David Oistrakh,  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Franz Konwitschny,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 17.
    Emil Gilels, Vol. 1 (Limited Edition) [Vinyl]
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: MELLP0032 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR State Symphony Orchestra
    LP: $48.99
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  • 18.
    Emil Gilels In Italy: Chopin, Schubert/Kabalevsky, Mozart
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 547 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Dmitri Kabalevsky
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    Conductor:  Franco Caracciolo
    CD: $9.99
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  • 19.
    Rca Living Stereo Collection, Vol. 2
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 300350 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Byron Janis,  Gary Graffman,  Vladimir Horowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Krips,  Fritz Reiner,  Pierre Monteux,  Charles Munch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Symphony of the Air,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $125.98
    CD: $79.99
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  • 20.
    Emil Gilels In Ensembles
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 2210 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels,  Yakov Zak,  Elizaveta Gillels,  Yakov Shapiro  ... 
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin
    CD: $54.49
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  • 21.
    Beethoven: Sonaten Op. 26, Op. 31/1; Schumann: Toccata; Arabeske; Brahms: Vier Balladen
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 883132 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    CD: $22.49
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  • 22.
    BBC Legends - Great Recordings from the Archive
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5113 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Robert Schumann,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Beryl Hatt,  Agnes Giebel,  Joyce Barker,  Kerstin Meyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Jascha Horenstein,  Yevgeny Mravinsky,  Arturo Toscanini,  Kiril Kondrashin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Orpington Junior Singers,  Goldsmiths' Choral Union  ... 
    CD: $98.99
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  • 23.
    Great Pianists - Legendary Recordings from Arrau, Cherkassky, Cziffra, Gilels, Katchen
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5114 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels,  Claudio Arrau,  Julius Katchen,  György Cziffra  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Christoph von Dohnányi,  Otto Klemperer,  Rudolf Kempe  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 24.
    Fritz Reiner - The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 370198 Release Date: 10/15/2013   Number of Discs: 63
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Johannes Brahms,  Rolf Liebermann,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Jascha Heifetz,  Emil Gilels,  Inge Borkh  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Lyric Theatre Chorus,  Studio Orchestra
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    On sale! $199.98
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  • 25.
    Schumann, Brahms, Chopin, Mozart / Emil Gilels
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5108 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    CD: $17.99
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