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Emil Gilels (1916 - 1985)

Gilels’s family was not musical, although his father was an amateur musician. At the age of six Emil began lessons with Yakov Tkach, a Pugno pupil. Bertha Reingbald, a teacher from the Institute of Music and Drama in Odessa, heard the twelve-year-old Gilels’s debut and decided to prepare him for entrance to the Moscow Conservatory. Under her tuition, in 1931 he won first prize in the National Competition of the Ukraine, resulting in a scholarship the same year from the Ukrainian government. At sixteen Gilels won the All-Union Competition for Performing Musicians and two years later, after graduating in Odessa, he travelled to Moscow to study with Heinrich Neuhaus at the Moscow Conservatory.



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