Biography Eugene Istomin

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Eugene Istomin is acknowledged to have been one of the twentieth century's leading pianists. A rare combination of virtuosity, poetic insight, and aristocratic style brought him international acclaim as a recitalist, orchestral soloist, and chamber musician.

Born in New York City in 1925, to Russian parents who were both professional singers, the young Istomin displayed prodigious musical gifts. He was "discovered" at age six by the distinguished Russian pedagogue Alexander Siloti, whose daughter, Kyriena, assisted with Istomin's early music training. At age twelve, he enrolled in the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he studied piano with Rudolf Serkin and Mieczyslaw Horszowski.

Mr. Istomin came to national attention at age seventeen by winning both the Philadelphia Orchestra Award and the Leventritt Award, which led to sensational debuts in the same week with both the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. In 1950, he was the youngest performer at the first Prades Festival in France, organized by Pablo Casals. A successful career followed, with appearances before the world's leading orchestras and recitals on six continents.

Mr. Istomin performed under many of today's leading conductors, but he also had the opportunity to perform with an earlier generation of now-legendary conductors: Bruno Walter, Fritz Reiner, George Szell, Charles Munch, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Eugene Ormandy, and Leonard Bernstein--in brief, a veritable Who's Who of great conductors. No less impressive than his career as soloist and recitalist were Istomin's celebrated performances with the legendary Istomin-Stern-Rose Trio--which came together officially in 1961--with friends Isaac Stern and Leonard Rose playing, respectively, violin and cello. Istomin's reputation as a performer meant that many works were written for and dedicated to him by eminent composers such as Henri Dutilleux, Roger Sessions, and Ned Rorem.

In addition to his life-long dedication to music, Mr. Istomin enjoyed a serious interest in the visual arts, literature, and history. And he was passionate about sports, particularly baseball. These diverse interests enriched his life as well as his friendships.

From the 1950s to the 1980s, from the Eisenhower to the Reagan presidencies, Eugene Istomin served as an ambassador of the arts at important events and functions. He played at the White House and performed on three occasions at the United Nations in New York. And he was an active participant in numerous initiatives promoting culture and education.

In 1988, he embarked on an unprecedented four-month-long recital tour of thirty cities throughout North America, accompanied by his piano technician and by two Steinway concert-grand pianos in a specially fitted truck. He was keenly aware that great music, to have lasting value in a society, needed to be heard not only in the world's major cultural centers, but in small towns and cities, as well. He often gave master classes in the schools of the cities he visited, and for eight consecutive years, these tours were a tradition.

Over the course of his long career, Mr. Istomin made recordings by the dozen: of concerti and solo works, and of his famous trio's extensive flipping of the pages of the chamber music literature. Several of these recordings became best sellers and award winners and are still regarded as exemplifying the highest standards of musicianship. In 2001, Mr. Istomin recorded several selections from the piano concerto repertoire. One of the three works he selected was Paul Paray's Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra. In this first-ever recording of Paray's composition, Mr. Istomin's timeless playing can be heard to the accompaniment of the Budapest Symphony Orchestra, with Jean-Bernard Pommier, a former student of Istomin's, at the podium.

Discography

1946

Columbia MM 624

Bach, Johann Sebastian.
   Concerto for harpsichord in D minor, BWV 1052.

Reissue: Pearl 9298 (1998)

1950

Columbia ML 4346 "Prades festival vol. 2"

Bach, Johann Sebastian.
   Brandenburg concerto no 5 in D major, BWV 1050.

Reissues: Sony Classical SMK 58982 (1993), Pearl 200 (2003)

Columbia ML 4353 "Prades festival vol. 9"
John Wummer, flute. Isaac Stern, violin.

Bach, Johann Sebastian.
   Toccata and fugue in E minor.
   Concerto for harpsichord in F minor, BWV 1056.
   Trio sonata for flute, violin and harpsichord in G major, BWV 1038.

Reissue: Pearl 202 (2003)

1951

Columbia SL167 "Casals festival at Perpigan vol. 1"
Pablo Casals, cello.

Haydn, Franz Joseph.
   Sonata for keyboard no 9 in D major, H 16 no 4: Adagio.
   Sonata for keyboard no 30 in D major, H 16 no 19: 2nd mvt, Adagio.

Reissues: Sony Classical 66573 (1995), Pearl 175 (2002)

Columbia SL168 / ML 4567-4570 "Casals festival at Perpigan vol. 2"

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus.
   Concerto for piano no 14 in E flat major, K 449.

Reissues: Sony Classical SMK 58984 (1993), Pearl 167 (2002)

Columbia SL 169/ ML4571-4574 "Casals festival at Perpignan, vol. 3"
Pablo Casals, cello, Alexander Schneider, violin.

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Trio for Piano and Strings Op. No1 no. 3 in C minor.
   Trio for Piano and strings no 2 in G major, Op. 1 no 2.
   Trio for Piano and strings no 4 in B flat major, Op. 11.
   Trio for Piano and strings no 6 in E flat major, Op. 70 no 2.
   Trio for Piano and strings no 7 in B flat major, Op. 97 "Archduke."

Reissues: Sony Classical SMK 58990 (1993), Pearl 174 (2002)

1953

Columbia SL-183 / ML 4715-4716 "Casals festival at Prades vol. 2"
Alexander Schneider, violin. Pablo Casals, cello.

Schubert, Franz.
   Trio for piano and strings no 1 in B flat major, D 898/Op. 99.

Reissues: Sony Classical 58989 (1994), Sony Classical 92740 (2004)

Columbia ML 4926 "Short pieces" [recorded at the Casals Festival at Prades]

Bach, Johann Sebastian.
   Concerto for Organ solo in C major, BWV 594.
de Falla, Manuel.
   Canciones populares españolas (7): no 5, Nana.

Reissue: Sony Classical SMK 66573 (1994)

1955

Columbia SL-185 / ML 4701-4710 "Casals fetival at Prades"

Brahms, Johannes.
   Trio for piano and strings no 3 in C minor, Op. 101.
   Trio for piano and strings no 1 in B major, Op. 8.
   Trio for piano and strings no 2 in C major, Op. 87.
      Pablo Casals, cello. Yehudi Menuhin, violin.

   Trio for piano, clarinet, and cello in A minor, Op. 114.
      Pablo Casals, cello. David Oppenheim, clarinet.

Reissue: Music and Arts CD-1113 (2002)

1956

Columbia ML 5054-5055

Chopin.
   Nocturnes.

Columbia ML 5103
Phildelphia Orchestra ; Eugene Ormandy, conductor.

Rachmaninoff, Sergei.
   Concerto no. 2 in C minor, for piano and orchestra, op. 18.
   Prelude in G major, op. 32, no. 5.
   Prelude in G minor, op. 23, no. 5.

1958

Library of Congress Music Division concert, 1958-11-07.
Budapest String Quartet.

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus.
   Quartet in E flat major, K.V. 493.
Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Quartet in E flat major.
   Quartet for piano and strings in E flat major, op. 16.
Brahms, Johannes.
   Quartet for piano and strings no. 2 in A major, op. 26.

Columbia ML5291
Joseph Fuchs, violin. Pablo Casals, violoncello.

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Trio for Piano and strings in E-flat major, op. l, no. 1.
   Trio for Piano and strings in D major, op. 70, no. 1 "Ghost".

Music and Arts CD-1113, 2002.
Pablo Casals, cello.

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Sonata for Cello and Piano no 2 in G minor, Op. 5 no 2.

Columbia: ML 5318.
Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, conductor.

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Concerto for piano and orchestra no. 5 in E-flat major, op. 73 "Emperor."

Columbia ML 5287.

Brahms, Johannes.
   Intermezzi, op. 117.
   Variations and fugue on a theme of Handel, op. 24.

Columbia ML 5237.
Isaac Stern, violin. Milton Katims, viola. Mischa Schneider, cello.

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus.
   Quartet for Piano and Strings no 2 in E flat major, K 493.

Reissued on Sony Classical 64516 in 1995.

1959

Columbia MS 6079.
Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, conductor.

Tchaikovsky, Peter Illich.
   Concerto for piano and orchestra no. 1 in B-flat minor, op. 23.

Reissued on Columbia Odyssey Y34606 in 1977.

1960

Library of Congress Music Division concert, 1960-11-11.
Budapest String Quartet.

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Quartet for strings no. 6 in B flat major, op. 18, no. 6.
Dvorák, Antonín.
   Quintet in A major for two violins, viola, violoncello, and piano, op. 81.
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus.
   Quartet in G minor for violin, viola, violoncello, and piano, KV 478.

Columbia MS 6159
Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, conductor.

Chopin, Frederic.
   Concerto no. 2 in F minor for piano and orchestra, op. 21.

Reissued on Columbia Odyssey Y34618 in 1977.

Columbia MS 6159
Columbia Symphony, Bruno Walter, conductor.

Schumann, Robert Alexander.
   Concerto in A minor for piano and orchestra, op. 54.

Reissued on Columbia Odyssey Y34618 in 1977 and on Sony Classical 58989 in 1996.

1961

Library of Congress Music Division concert, 1961-03-10.
Leonard Rose, violoncello.

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Sonata for Cello and Piano in G minor, op. 5, no. 2.
   Sonata for piano and cello no. 3 in A major, op. 69.
   Sonata for piano no 31 in A flat major, op. 110.

1965

Columbia D2S 720 MS6718-MS6719
Isaac Stern, violin. Leonard Rose, violoncello. Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, conductor.

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Concerto for piano, violin, violoncello and orchestra in C major, op. 56 : "Triple concerto."

Reissued on Sony Classical SBK46549 in 1991 and on Sony Classical SBK89961 in 2002.

Columbia MS 6715
Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, conductor.

Brahms, Johannes.
Concerto no. 2 in B-flat major, for piano and orchestra, op. 83.

Columbia D2S 720 MS6718-MS6719

Brahms, Johannes.
   Concerto for violin and cello in A minor, op. 102 "Double."
      Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, conductor.
   Trio no. 2 in C major for violin, cello and piano, op. 87.
      Isaac Stern, violin. Leonard Rose, violoncello.

1966

Columbia MS 6819
Isaac Stern, violin. Leonard Rose, violoncello.

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Trio for Piano and strings, no. 6, in B-flat major, op. 97.

Columbia MS 7083
Leonard Rose, cello. Isaac Stern, violin.

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Trio for piano and strings no 3 in C minor, op. 1 no 3.

Reissued on Sony Classical 46738 in 1991.

1967

Columbia M2S 760 MS 6983-6984.
Isaac Stern, violin. Leonard Rose, cello.

Brahms, Johannes. Trio for piano and strings no 1 in B major, op. 8.
   Trio for piano and strings no 2 in C major, op. 87.
   Trio for piano and strings no 3 in C minor, op. 101.

Reissued on Sony Classical 46425 in 1991 and Sony Classical 64520 in 1995.

1968

Columbia MS 7083
Leonard Rose, cello. Isaac Stern, violin.

Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix.
   Trio for piano and strings no 1 in D minor, Op. 49.
   Trio for piano and strings no 2 in C minor, Op. 66.

Reissued on CBS Masterworks M 35835 in 1981 and on Sony Classical SMK64519 in 1995.

Sony Classical 64516, 1995.
Isaac Stern, violin. Leonard Rose, cello.

Haydn, Franz Joseph.
   Trio for piano, violin and cello in E flat major, H 15 no 10.

Sony Music Media 508106, 2002.
Isaac Stern, violin. Leonard Rose, cello.

Haydn, Franz Joseph.
   Trio for piano, violin and cello in E flat major, H 15 no 20.

Columbia MS 7443

Schubert, Franz.
   Sonata in D major, op. 53.

1969

Columbia MS 7199
Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, conductor.

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Concerto for piano and orchestra no. 4 in G major, op. 58.

1970

Columbia M5 30065 - Beethoven - Complete trios.
Isaac Stern, violin. Leonard Rose, cello.

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Trio for piano and strings no 1 in E flat major, op. 1 no 1.
   Trio for piano and strings no 2 in G major, op. 1 no 2.
   Trio for piano and strings no 3 in C minor, op. 1 no 3.
   Trio for piano and strings no 9 in E flat major, woO 38.
   Trio for piano and strings no 10 in E flat major, op. 44 "Variations on an Original Theme."

Reissued on Sony Classical SM2K 64510 in1995

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Trio for piano and strings no 7 in B flat major, op. 97 "Archduke."
   Trio for piano and strings no 11 in G major, op. 121a "Kakadu Variations."
   Trio for piano, clarinet and cello no 4 in B flat major, op. 11.
   Trio for piano and strings no 8 in B flat major, woO 39.
   Trio for piano and strings no 6 in E flat major, op. 70 no 2.

Reissued on Sony Classical 64513 in 1995

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Trio for piano and strings in D major, op. 70, no. 1, "Ghost".
   Trio for piano and strings in E flat, op. 70, no. 2.

Reissued on Sony Classical 46738 in 1991

Desto DC 7101
Donald Gramm, bass baritone.

Rorem, Ned.
   War scenes.
   Five songs to poems by Walt Whitman.

Reissued on Phoenix 116 in 1993.

Columbia MS 7419
Isaac Stern, violin. Leonard Rose, cello.

Schubert, Franz.
   Trio for piano and strings no 2 in E flat major, D 929/op. 100.

Reissued on Sony Classical SMK58988 in 1993 and on Sony Music Media 508106 in 2002.

1985

Columbia M2K 39680--M2K 39681
Isaac Stern, violin.

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Sonata for violin and piano no 1 in D major, op. 12 no 1.
   Sonata for violin and piano no 2 in A major, op. 12 no. 2.
   Sonata for violin and piano no 3 in E flat major, op. 12 no 3.
   Sonata for violin and piano no 4 in A minor, op. 23.
   Sonata for violin and piano no 6 in A major, op. 30 no 1.
   Sonata for violin and piano no 7 in C minor, op. 30 no 2.
   Sonata for violin and piano no 10 in G major, op. 96.
   Sonata for violin and piano no 5 in F major, op. 24 "Spring."
   Sonata for violin and piano no 8 in G major, op. 30 no 3.
   Sonata for violin and piano no 9 in A minor, op. 47 "Kreutzer."

Reissued on Sony Classical SM3K 64524 in 1996.

1987

CBS Records MK42398
Leonard Rose, violoncello.

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Sonata for piano and cello no. 3 in A major , op. 69.
   Sonata for piano and cello no. 5 in D major, op. 102, no. 2.

ADDA Recordings 581049 -- Recital Eugene Istomin.

Schumann, Robert
   Sonata in F. sharp minor, Op. 11.
Debussy, Claude.
   "Images" Vol 1.
   Reflets dans l'eau.
   Hommage a Rameau.
   Mouvement.
Rachmaninoff, Sergei.
   Prelude op.32 no.7 in F major.
   Oriental scketch.
   Lullaby on a theme of Tachaikowsky.
   Etude-tableau op.39 in D major.

1996

Reference RR-69

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Sonata for piano no 14 in C sharp minor, op. 27, no 2 "Moonlight."
   Sonata for piano no 21 in C major, op. 53 "Waldstein."
   Sonata for piano no 31 in A flat major, op. 110.

1995

Reference RR-68CD
Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz, conductor.

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus.
   Concerto no. 21 in C major, K. 467.
   Concerto no. 24 in C minor, K. 491.


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