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Christian Zacharias (b1950)


Although born in India, Christian Zacharias grew up in Karlsruhe. He began piano lessons with Elena Slavin at the age of ten at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe. Slavin was a descendant of the Leschetizky school, instilling in her pupils the traditions of the Viennese master and those of the St Petersburg school where the repertoire was based on Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninov. Although he studied with her for ten years, Zacharias did much to avoid this repertoire as he greatly preferred the music of the Classical era by Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert. After winning second prize at the Geneva International Piano Competition, Zacharias went to Paris to study with Vlado Perlemuter, following which he won second prize at the Van Cliburn Competition in Texas and two years later, no doubt helped by his studies with Perlemuter, first prize in the Ravel Competition in Paris.

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