Born: July 16, 1928
Bella Davidovich began studying piano at the age of six. Her progress was so astonishing that by the age of nine, she had made her public debut performing a Beethoven concerto. In 1947, she enrolled at the Moscow Conservatory, where she studied under Konstantin Igumnov and Yakov Flier. In 1949, she won first prize in the Chopin Competition in Warsaw, establishing an active career as a soloist in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. In 1962, she became professor of piano at the Moscow Conservatory. Davidovich gave her first concert in Western Europe in 1967 (in the Netherlands) and in 1971, she was permitted to tour Italy. In 1977, her son, noted violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky, defected to the United States, leading the Soviet authorities to cancel all of her foreign concert engagements. She herself was able to leave the Soviet Union in 1978 and became an American citizen six years later. She made her American debut at Carnegie Hall in 1979, and she soon became a much sought-after soloist in the United States, Canada, and Europe, noted for her interpretations of the Romantic repertoire. In 1983, she was appointed to a professorship at the Juilliard School. In 1988, she and her son returned to Russia as some of the first emigrés to be invited to perform there during Gorbachev's period of Perestroika. Davidovich has appeared as soloist with the world's leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Symphony, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. She has collaborated with the Borodin Quartet, Guarneri Quartet, and Tokyo String Quartet. She has also served on the juries of the Queen Elisabeth and Chopin International Piano Competitions.