Notes and Editorial Reviews
Emil Gilels was born in Odessa on October 19, 1916. At five, he began to take lessons from Yakov Tkach. Gilels development was astonishingly rapid and by twelve, he had mastered Chopin's etudes. He gave his first public performance in 1929. The following year he was accepted to the Odessa Conservatory in the class of Berta Reingbald. Under her tutelage, Gilels blossomed. When Arthur Rubinstein came to Odessa in the early 1930s, he predicted that young Emil would one day eclipse them all. Gilels entered the first “All Union Competition” (1933), which he won unanimously. He then toured the Soviet Union and was acclaimed as the standard-bearer of a “new” Soviet pianism. In 1935 he moved to Moscow and entered the class of the legendary pianist and pedagogue Heinrich Neuhaus. At the start of 1936, Gilels performed Beethoven's third piano concerto with Otto Klemperer. Two years later, he took part in the “International Brussels Competition.” The jury, numbering such luminaries as Leopold Stokowski, Otto Klemperer, Walter Gieseking, Emil von Sauer, Carlo Zecchi, Robert Casadesus and Samuil Feinberg, awarded him first prize. It was planned that he set forth on a long tour, including of the United States, but these were scotched by the Second World War. Throughout the war, Gilels performed all over the country. Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto was a staple of his repertoire. When the war ended, he toured Europe and in 1955, became the first Soviet musician to tour the United States. Until his death in 1985, Emil Gilels continued to perform and record widely. He is universally acclaimed as one of the greatest pianists of all time. We are honored to present here live performances of two of his sterling concerto performances.