Vladimir Horowitz

Biography

Born: October 1, 1903   Died: November 5, 1989  
A pianist of legendary fame and stature, Vladimir Horowitz was born in Kiev, Ukraine. His mother, herself a professional pianist, provided his first instruction at the piano and was the first to recognize his extraordinary talents; he studied further at the Kiev Conservatory. His first public appearance was a recital in Kiev on May 30, 1920, and in 1922 he gave a series of 15 concerts in Kharkov for which he was paid in food and clothing. Read more Although Russia was still reeling from the revolution of 1917, Horowitz fashioned successful concert tours in major cities such as Moscow, Leningrad, and Kiev -- marking the beginning of a performing career of unflagging and spectacular success.

His first international appearance came with his 1926 trip to Berlin, soon after which followed concerts in Paris, London, and New York. Further appearances in the United States solidified his reputation as an exceptional virtuoso, and the country which was to become his adopted home embraced him warmly. He was invited to the White House to play for President Hoover in 1931, and in 1933 he married Wanda Toscanini -- the daughter of the famous conductor Arturo Toscanini, who would soon conduct Horowitz and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in performances of the Beethoven piano concertos. Horowitz permanently settled in the United States in 1940 and achieved citizenship in 1944.

Wanda Toscanini assumed a gentle stewardship of her new husband, who was in fragile physical and emotional health. Often seized with an irrational fear of failure, Horowitz found the life of touring threatening to his equilibrium. He withdrew from the concert stage for several periods during his life, and made only rare appearances after 1970. When Horowitz did schedule a concert, it often took the persuasive powers of his wife and friends to keep him from canceling at the last minute. His nagging, and often overpowering, insecurity led him to seek shock therapy in 1973, but though he seemed to achieve some benefit from treatment, he was never free of anxiety when playing in public. The one exception to this trend was when he appeared as accompanist to another artist, which he often did with baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, and violinist Isaac Stern. Because of his long absences from the concert stage, Horowitz's popularity was largely sustained by his recordings.

Perhaps the most significant single event in Horowitz's long career was his long-overdue return to the Soviet Union (his first since his departure in the 1920s) for a series of concerts in 1986. The resulting tour became a major political event, coinciding as it did with an era of new understanding between the United States and the Soviet Union, and it resonated powerfully with Soviet audiences. Revitalized by the Soviet tour, Horwowitz signed a new contract with Sony; the contract included provisions for recording him at home on his favorite piano. He made his last such recording on November 1, 1989; on November 5 he died of a massive heart attack.

As a performer, Horowitz had huge resources of speed and power, and a clean articulation. His performances were brilliant, exciting, and often mystifying to those who found his technique enigmatic (he played, for instance, with unusually straight fingers, laying them nearly flat on the keys). Though his performances were frequently criticized for their willfulness and self-indulgent nature, there was an undeniable charisma to his playing that endeared him to most everyone who heard him. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 77 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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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  • 2.
    Return to Chicago / Vladimir Horowitz
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002403702 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Domenico Scarlatti,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Alexander Scriabin,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
    CD: $26.99
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  • 3.
    Vladimir Horowitz: The Unreleased Live Recordings, 1966-1983
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 305458 Release Date: 10/23/2015   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Recorded Sound,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
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  • 4.
    Beethoven: Piano Sonatas
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88697704492 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
    CD: $6.99
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  • 5.
    Horowitz Plays Scriabin - Remastered
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503837 Release Date: 05/18/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Alexander Scriabin
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
    CD: $19.99
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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    Vladimir Horowitz plays Great Sonatas
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7884092 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Muzio Clementi  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
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    CD: $28.49
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  • 9.
    Music For Pleasure [wienerworld]
    Label: Wienerworld   Catalog: 1367 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Dieter Goldmann,  Abbey Simon,  Vladimir Horowitz,  Michael Conn  ... 
    Conductor:  Francesco Macci,  Alberto Lizzio,  Leopold Stokowski,  Anton Nanut  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hyacinthe Eléonore Klosé
    CD: $14.99
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  • 10.
    Great Moments: Horowitz Live At Carnegie Hall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 376860 Release Date: 11/11/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Domenico Scarlatti,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Frédéric Chopin,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Conductor:  George Szell
    CD: $12.99
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  • 11.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 4206 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Dmitri Kabalevsky,  Moritz Moszkowski,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
    CD: $13.99
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  • 12.
    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: $164.49
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  • 13.
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 10132 Release Date: 05/25/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Jascha Heifetz,  Rudolf Serkin,  Rita Streich  ... 
    Conductor:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Alfred Scholz,  Eugene Ormandy  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 14.
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 5101 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 15.
    The Romantic Era - Beethoven, Etc / Horowitz, Reiner, Szell
    Label: Andromeda   Catalog: 5002 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Carl Czerny,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
    CD: $14.99
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  • 16.
    Horowitz Plays Liszt
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 783987 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
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  • 17.
    Keeping The Doors Open - Isaac Stern 90th Birthday Celebration
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 75347 Release Date: 11/30/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Vladimir Horowitz
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
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  • 18.
    Piano & Cello Masterpieces
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 10105 Release Date: 11/19/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Pablo Casals,  Mieczyslaw Horszowski,  Shura Cherkassky
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Leopold Ludwig,  Richard Kraus
    CD: $12.99
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  • 19.
    Horowitz - The Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001491202 Release Date: 11/16/2010   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
    On sale! $54.98
    CD: $52.99
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  • 20.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 4217 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Czerny,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
    CD: $17.99
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  • 21.
    A Century Of Romantic Chopin
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 54001 Release Date: 08/19/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Moritz Rosenthal,  Alfred Cortot,  Rosita Renard,  Sydney Foster  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
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    CD: $55.49
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  • 22.
    Great Singers And Musicians In Copenhagen, 1931-1939
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 691/96 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Wagner,  Bedrich Smetana,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Anny Konetzni,  Lauritz Melchior,  Zedenka Zikova,  Viorica Tango  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Weisbach,  Nicolai Malko,  Bruno Walter,  Egisto Tango  ... 
    Recommendation
    On sale! $69.98
    CD: $53.99
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  • 23.
    Schumann Gold
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001423002 Release Date: 05/25/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Nelson Freire,  Malcolm Martineau,  Bryn Terfel,  Paul Gulda  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Herbert von Karajan,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique,  Hagen String Quartet,  Cleveland Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $15.99
    CD: $13.99
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  • 24.
    Chopin Gold
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001397602 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Martha Argerich,  Friedrich Gulda,  Rafal Blechacz  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 25.
    Legendary Berlin Concert 18 May, 1986 / Vladimir Horowitz
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 760481 Release Date: 02/02/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin,  Alexander Scriabin  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
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    CD: $24.99
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