• Born 1952
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Internationally known as one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century, Vladimir Feltsman has performed works from Johann Sebastian Bach and such Russian composers as Alfred Schnittke and Nikolai Karetnikov. Feltsman has performed with all the major American orchestras and worked with many leading conductors. He has recorded prolifically, is an author, and a distinguished educator.
Born in Moscow on January 8, 1952, Vladimir Feltsman developed his love for music at a young age. His public debut was at the age of 11 when he performed as a soloist with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. He won first prize at the Concertina International Competition in Prague at 15, an award that later led him to enroll in the Moscow Conservatory. After winning first prize at the Marguerite Long Competition in Paris, Feltsman felt he was ready to perform with the major Soviet orchestras and at music festivals in the USSR. During this time, he performed recitals in Eastern Europe, France, Italy, Belgium, and Japan.
In the summer of 1987, Feltsman arrived in the United States after finally receiving permission to leave the Soviet Union. The PBS television documentary Journey from Home: Vladimir Feltsman in Moscow recounts his return to Moscow after being banned from the concert halls and a heartfelt reunion with his parents. He has also been seen on such national television programs as 60 Minutes, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, PBS' Live from Lincoln Center, and The McLaughlin Group. Since his arrival in the United States, Feltsman has performed with all of the major American orchestras, as well as the London Symphony and the NHK of Japan. During the 1996-1997 season, he performed with the New York Philharmonic under the direction of conductor Kurt Masur. His recitals and concerts include works from Bach as well as new contemporary music. Feltsman's repertoire concentrates on music from the German tradition but does not fail to include other new genres. His vibrant, individualistic style of interpretations has made him an internationally known and respected pianist.
Aside from doing live concerts and recitals, Feltsman has also made over 60 recordings. On the MusicMasters label, he has made five albums of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, including The Art of Fugue, and a disc of the final Beethoven sonatas, Op. 190, 110, and 111. His recordings also include a live performance at the Moscow Conservatory of the Goldberg Variations and a release from 1996 of The Well-Tempered Clavier Book II. In 2020, Feltsman issued the sixth volume in his survey of Schubert's piano sonatas on the Nimbus Alliance label.
Feltsman is a piano professor at the State University of New York, New Paltz, and the Mannes College of Music in New York City. He founded PianoSummer in 1995, an international festival and summer institute in New Paltz, and along with his wife, Haewon, Feltsman founded the Feltsman Piano Foundation in 2012; the goal of both of these organizations is the training and development of young pianists. In 2019, he published the book Piano Lessons, which delves into aspects of his life as a musician, details about his recordings, and research into Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier.