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Vladimir Sofronitsky

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Vladimir Sofronitsky was among the greatest Russian pianists of the twentieth century, and, while he had become a somewhat less prominent figure following his death, he must be still considered in the company of Richter, Gilels, and Yudina. In his time, Sofronitsky became widely recognized as the leading interpreter of and authority on the music of Scriabin in Eastern Europe. He was also highly praised for his interpretations of the piano works of Robert Schumann and he was a highly respected teacher.

His father, a successful physicist, took the family to Warsaw in 1903, where the young Sofronitsky would grow up and develop his musical skills. As a child, he showed unusual talent on the piano and his parents arranged for studies with A. Lebedeva-Getsevich and Aleksander Michalowski. At the age of 15, Sofronitsky enrolled at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he studied under Leonid Nikolayev. Maria Yudina was also a student at the conservatory and soon entered the same class, where she remained with Sofronitsky for a year. She would report that he was already playing with remarkable interpretive insight and virtuosic skills. Sofronitsky also took classes in composition at the conservatory from Maximilian Steinberg. In 1920, Sofronitsky married the oldest daughter of Scriabin, Elena. While he had already divulged a sympathy for the piano music of the recently deceased mystic composer — as attested by Yudina — he now had a greater intellectual and emotional connection to Scriabin’s works through his wife, also a talented pianist, and through the Scriabin in-laws.

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