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
Browse 1-25 of 150 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Originals - Legendary Recordings from Deutsche Grammophon
    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  ... 
    On sale! $159.98
    CD: $129.99
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  • 2.
    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
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  • 3.
    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
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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    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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  • 6.
    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  ... 
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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 4234 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    Conductor:  Karel Ancerl
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  • 9.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 55204 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    Conductor:  Fernando Previtali
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  • 10.
    Saint-saens: Piano Concerto No. 2; Cello Concerto No. 1; Violin Concerto No. 3; Introduction & Rondo Capriccioso
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350077 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Emil Gilels,  Isaac Stern,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Arthur Grumiaux
    Conductor:  André Cluytens,  Eugene Ormandy,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Jean Fournet
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  • 11.
    Label: Audiophile Classics   Catalog: 7704145 Release Date: 05/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Paul Hindemith
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    Conductor:  Eugen Jochum
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  • 12.
    Emil Gilels Plays Beethoven - Historical Recordings 1980
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 94221 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
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    CD: $14.99
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  • 13.
    Beethoven Masterworks Collection  [51-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001813172 Release Date: 03/19/2013   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Janet Perry,  Agnes Baltsa,  Vinson Cole,  José Van Dam  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Carlos Kleiber,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $163.49
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  • 14.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto Nos 4 & 5
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1367 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    Conductor:  Leopold Ludwig
    CD: $9.99
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  • 15.
    Mozart 111 [55-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001766872 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Emil Gilels,  Elena Gilels,  Maurizio Pollini  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock,  James Levine,  Herbert von Karajan,  Marc Minkowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 16.
    Emil Gilels Plays Concertos & Sonatas
    Label: Sony (Nax615)   Catalog: 1991362 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Fritz Reiner,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Brahms: Piano Concerto No 2; Debussy, Prokofiev / Emil Gilels
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5077 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Claude Debussy,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    Conductor:  Mario Rossi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 18.
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001701502 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Franz Liszt,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Anatol Ugorski,  Aloys Kontarsky,  Alfons Kontarsky  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 19.
    The Russian Archives - Emil Gilels Plays Russian Music
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9265 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Alexander Scriabin,  Nikolai Medtner,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    CD: $16.99
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  • 20.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0387 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
    CD: $9.99
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  • 21.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0343 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Kiril Kondrashin
    CD: $9.99
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  • 22.
    The Young Emil Gilels
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 5046 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    CD: $14.99
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  • 23.
    Emil Gilels Legacy, Vol. 9
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 7980 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 24.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 4; Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No 2 / Gilels
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5032 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    CD: $17.99
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  • 25.
    Schubert: Piano Sonata D 850; Liszt: Piano Sonata In B Minor / Gilels
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 7858242 Release Date: 09/20/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
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