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Vladimir Horowitz (1903 - 1989)

Although he grew up in Kiev, and claimed that was the city of his birth, it is possible that Horowitz’s birthplace was actually Berdichev, situated southwest of Kiev. Horowitz was born into a well-to-do, cultured family and he received his first piano lessons from his mother. At the age of nine he entered the Kiev Conservatory where he studied with Vladimir Puchalsky, then with Sergei Tarnowsky; both had been pupils of Theodor Leschetizky. From 1919 Horowitz studied with Felix Blumenfeld, a pupil of Anton Rubinstein. Although never a performing child prodigy, Horowitz was always the centre of attention as a child and adolescent due to his extraordinary talent at the keyboard, and this environment moulded his personality as an adult.

Horowitz made his debut in Kiev in 1920, the year that he graduated from the Kiev Conservatory. His family had lost everything in the Revolution, so young Vladimir had to earn a living. Although an unknown, after a few performances news of Horowitz spread and his concerts were well attended. During this period he also performed with violinist Nathan Milstein; they played to packed houses in Petrograd (now St Petersburg) in 1923 and during the following concert season Horowitz gave twenty recitals of ten programmes.



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