Youri Egorov

Youri Aleksandrovich Egorov (Russian: Юрий Александрович Егоров; 28 May 1954 – 16 April 1988) was a Soviet and Monegasque[1] classical pianist.

Early years

Born in Kazan, USSR, Youri Egorov studied music at the Kazan Conservatory from the age of 6 until age 17. One of his early teachers was Irina Dubinina, a former pupil of Yakov Zak.[2]

At the age of 17, in 1971, Egorov took 4th Prize in Paris at the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition. He next studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Yakov Zak.[3] Egorov remained at the Moscow Conservatory for six years. In 1974, Egorov won the Bronze Medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. In 1975, he was awarded the 3rd Prize at the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition of Belgium.

Defection and career in the West

Egorov defected from the Soviet Union in 1976[4] while on a concert tour in Rome, Italy and travelled to Amsterdam where he was to meet Jan Brouwer (1947-1988), his long term partner.[5]

In 1977 Egorov participated in the Van Cliburn Competition in Fort Worth, Texas. He became an audience favorite. When he was not chosen as a finalist, a group of patrons and Cliburn board members formed an ad-hoc committee led by Cliburn trustee Beverley Taylor Smith and American impresario Maxim Gershunoff, which raised money equal to the Van Cliburn top prize of $10,000 to further Egorov's career by funding a New York debut. The South African Steven DeGroote took the first place award that year. Gershunoff as Egorov's American manager presented his New York recital debut in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on January 23, 1978. Three months later, he appeared in Chicago, Illinois and a critic there dubbed his performance "the debut of the decade." In July, 1978, Musical America Magazine selected Youri Egorov as their "Musician of the Month". He made his Carnegie Hall debut on December 16, 1978 once again under the aegis of Gershunoff. The concert was recorded live. Writing for The New York Times, Harold C. Schonberg said Egorov played "...in a free, romantic style, and his approach is quite different from that of so many competition winners."

In August 1979, two of Egorov's albums appeared on Billboard Magazine's Best-Selling Classical LP chart. Throughout the 1980s Egorov played primarily in Europe. His last American appearance was in Florida in 1986.

Egorov was featured in the book Great Contemporary Pianists Speak for Themselves compiled by Elyse Mach. In it, he spoke candidly on the topics of rehearsal, pre-concert nervousness, artistic restrictions in Russia, and homosexuality. Sviatoslav Richter, Dinu Lipatti, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Vladimir Horowitz and Glenn Gould are among the pianists Youri Egorov cited as having influenced him.

Death and legacy

Egorov died at his home in Amsterdam from what was believed to be complications of AIDS. Egorov was 33 years old. At the time of his death 14 recordings of his had been commercially issued, and several more were awaiting release. He is buried alongside Jan Brouwer at Driehuis Velsen Crematorium, Driehuis, Noord-Holland, Netherlands.

Parallels have been drawn between the playing styles of Youri Egorov and Dinu Lipatti. Additionally, both men gave their final concert performances at the age of 33, each knowing at the time that he was afflicted with a fatal illness and had but months to live.

In 1989 Egorov was the subject of a VPRO Television documentary, "Youri Egorov 1954 - 1988" by Eline Flipse. The program won the special prize of the jury at the BANFF-televisiefestival in Canada and was nominated in 1990 for the Prix Italia.

Egorov's posthumously released CD, "Legacy 2: Youri Egorov", received the "Perfect Five-Star Rating" from CD Review Magazine.

Recordings

Year Composer Work Recorded at CD, record or website
1974TchaikovskyThe Seasons, Op. 37b (1875-1876)VARA Studio 1, HilversumRadio 4 Concerthuis
1974TchaikovskyPiano Concerto No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 75, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, conductor Roberto BenziConcertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamRadio 4 Concerthuis
1974RachmaninoffRhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op.43Tchaikovsky Competition MoscowMelodiya MELCD1002349 (2015)
1975MaesPiano Concerto No. 2, Symphonic Orchestra RTBF, conductor Irwin HoffmanQueen Elisabeth Music Competition BOZAR, BrusselsDeutsche Grammophon 2530 602
1975SchumannCarnaval, Op. 9 Queen Elisabeth Music Competition BOZAR, BrusselsDeutsche Grammophon 2530 602
1976BachItalian Concerto in F major, BWV 971Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal, AmsterdamRadio 4 Concerthuis
1976BachThe Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude and Fugue No. 13 in F-sharp major, BWV 857CD Astoria Stereo DP 87001
1976BachThe Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude and Fugue No. 24 in B minor, BWV 869CD Astoria Stereo DP 87001
1976ChopinEtude in E Major, Op. 10, No. 3Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamRadio 4 Concerthuis
1976ChopinEtude in C-sharp minor, Op. 10, No. 4Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamRadio 4 Concerthuis
1976ChopinScherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 31Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamRadio 4 Concerthuis
1976Saint-SaënsPiano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22 (1868), Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, conductor Guido Ajmone-MarsanConcertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamLP Radio Nederland 90021/22
1976ScarlattiSonata in G major, K 125Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamRadio 4 Concerthuis
1976ScarlattiSonata in D minor, K 32Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamRadio 4 Concerthuis
1976ScarlattiSonata in A major, K 322Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamRadio 4 Concerthuis
1976ScarlattiSonata in E major, K 380Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamRadio 4 Concerthuis
1976ScarlattiSonata in F major, K 518Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamRadio 4 Concerthuis
1976ScarlattiSonata in B minor, K 87Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamRadio 4 Concerthuis
1978BeethovenPiano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37, Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Hans VonkConcertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamNOS
1978BachChromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor, BWV 903Carnegie Hall, New YorkEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1978BeethovenChoral Fantasy in C minor, Op. 80, Radio Filharmonic Orchestra, conductor Willem van OtterlooConcertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamRadio 4 Concerthuis
1978ChopinÉtude in E major Op. 10, No. 3Carnegie Hall, New YorkEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1978ChopinÉtude in G-flat major Op. 10, No. 5 'Black Keys'Carnegie Hall, New YorkEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1978ChopinFantasy in F minor, Op. 49Carnegie Hall, New YorkEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1978LisztLa Campanella, S. 141TV Studio, Baden-BadenWebsite Youri Egorov Foundation
1978MozartFantasy in C minor KV 475Carnegie Hall, New YorkEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1978RachmaninoffRhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43, Radio Filharmonic Orchestra, conductor Willem van OtterlooConcertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamRadio 4 Concerthuis
1978SchumannKreisleriana, Op. 16Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal, AmsterdamEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1978SchumannNovelettes Op. 21, Nos. 1 and 8Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal, AmsterdamEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1978BachItalian ConcertoAmbassador Auditorium, PasadenaFirst Hand Records FHR47D (2016)
1978ChopinEtudes, Op. 10: Nos. 1 & 3-6Ambassador Auditorium, PasadenaFirst Hand Records FHR47D (2016)
1978ChopinScherzo No. 2 in F minor, Op. 31Ambassador Auditorium, PasadenaFirst Hand Records FHR47D (2016)
1978MozartFantasie in C minor, K. 475Ambassador Auditorium, PasadenaFirst Hand Records FHR47D (2016)
1978SchumannCarnaval, Op. 9Ambassador Auditorium, PasadenaFirst Hand Records FHR47D (2016)
1978DebussyImages Book 1 - Reflets dans l'eauAmbassador Auditorium, PasadenaFirst Hand Records FHR47D (2016)
1978LisztPaganini Etudes - La CampanellaAmbassador Auditorium, PasadenaFirst Hand Records FHR47D (2016)
1979ChopinÉtudes, Op. 10 and 25New YorkMusical Heritage Society 4493
1979SchumannFantasy in C major, Op. 17The NetherlandsGlobe GLO 6015
1979TchaikovskyPiano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23, Concertgebouw Orchestra, conductor Antal DorátiRAI, Amsterdam'Beeld en Geluid' Archive (video)
1980BachPartita No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamLegacy 2 Canal Grande CG 9214
1980BartókSonata (1926)Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamLegacy 2 Canal Grande CG 9214
1980ChopinÉtudes, Op. 10Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamLegacy 2 Canal Grande CG 9214
1980MozartFantasy in C minor, K. 475Ambassador Auditorium, Pasadena, California, USAFirst Hand Records FHR 44 (2016)
1980SchumannFantasy in C major, OP. 17Ambassador Auditorium, Pasadena, California, USAFirst Hand Records FHR 44 (2016)
1980Chopin12 Etudes, Op. 25Ambassador Auditorium, Pasadena, California, USAFirst Hand Records FHR 44 (2016)
1981BrahmsPiano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15, Utrecht Symphony Orchestra, conductor David ZinmanConcertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamET'CETERA KTC 1469
1981BartókSonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano, Op. 21 (1923) Emmy Verhey, violinConcertgebouw Kleine Zaal, AmsterdamMP3 Download
1981BrahmsViolin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108 (1886/88) Emmy Verhey, violinConcertgebouw Kleine Zaal, AmsterdamMP3 Download
1981ChopinFantasy in F minor, Op. 49Abbey Road Studios, LondonEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1981ChopinNocturne in D-flat major, Op. 27, No. 2Abbey Road Studios, LondonEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1981ChopinNocturne in E minor, Op. Posth.Abbey Road Studios, LondonEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1981ChopinNocturne in F-sharp major, Op. 15, No. 2Abbey Road Studios, LondonEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1981ChopinScherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 31Abbey Road Studios, LondonEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1981HaydnSonata No. 33 in B-flat major Hoboken XVI/20Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamLegacy 4 Canal Grande CG 9216
1981ProkofievSonata No. 8 in B-flat major, Op. 84 (1939-1944)Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamLegacy 3 Canal Grande CG 9215
1981SchubertViolin Sonata in A major, D. 574 (1817), Emmy Verhey, violinConcertgebouw Kleine Zaal, AmsterdamMP3 Download
1981SchumannPapillons, Op. 2Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal, AmsterdamEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1982BeethovenAndante favori in F majorConcertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamLegacy 4 Canal Grande CG 9216
1982BeethovenPiano Concerto No.5 in E-flat major, Op. 73 'Emperor', Philharmonia Orchestra, conductor Wolfgang SawallischAbbey Road Studios, LondonEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1982ChopinBallade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23Abbey Road Studios, LondonEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1982SchubertSonata in C minor, D. 958Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamET'CETERA KTC 1468
1982SchumannCarnaval, Op. 9EMI Records Ltd.EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1982SchumannToccata in C major, Op. 7EMI Records Ltd.EMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1982ChopinPiano Concerto No.2 in F minor, Op. 21, Utrecht Symfony Orchestra, conductor David ZinmanConcertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamET'CETERA KTC 1469
1983BrahmsIntermezzo in A minor Op. 118, No. 1TROSPhilips Essential Recordings 464 375-2
1983BrahmsIntermezzo in A major, Op. 118, No. 2TROSPhilips Essential Recordings 464 375-2
1983BrahmsIntermezzo in F minor Op. 118, No. 4TROSPhilips Essential Recordings 464 375-2
1983DebussyEstampes (1903)Abbey Road Studios, LondonEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1983DebussyImages Book 1, Reflets dans l'eauAbbey Road Studios, LondonEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1983DebussyPréludes Books 1 & 2Abbey Road Studios, LondonEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1983ShostakovichSonata No. 2, Op. 64 (1942)Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamLegacy 3 Canal Grande CG 9215
1983SchumannArabeske in C major, Op.18Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, AmsterdamDHR WH001 [2016, Limited Edition]
1983SchumannKreisleriana, Op.16Concertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam.DHR WH001 [2016, Limited Edition]
1983DebussyPréludes - Book IConcertgebouw Grote Zaal, Amsterdam.DHR WH001 [2016, Limited Edition]
1985MozartPiano Concerto No.17 in G Major, KV 453, Philharmonia Orchestra, conductor Wolfgang SawallischAbbey Road Studios, LondonEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1985MozartPiano Concerto No.20 in D minor, KV 466, Philharmonia Orchestra, conductor Wolfgang SawallischAbbey Road Studios, LondonEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1985SchumannArabeske, Op. 18Abbey Road Studios, LondonEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1985SchumannBunte Blätter, Op. 99Abbey Road Studios, LondonEMI Classics 50999 2 06531 2 5
1986BrahmsPiano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83, Nederlands Jeugd Symfonie Orkest, conductor Adam GatehouseET'CETERA KTC 1469
1986BabadjanjanBilder für Piano (1965)De IJsbreker, AmsterdamLegacy 3 Canal Grande CG 9215
1987BeethovenAndante favori in F majorVARA Studio 1, HilversumLegacy 4 Canal Grande CG 9216
1987BrahmsPiano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34, Glinka QuartetConcertgebouw Kleine Zaal, AmsterdamRadio 4 Concerthuis
1987RavelMiroirs (1905)De IJsbreker, AmsterdamET'CETERA KTC 1520
1987SchubertPiano Quintet in A major 'Trout Quintet', D. 667, Orlando QuartetConcertgebouw Kleine Zaal, AmsterdamNCRV
1987SchubertSix moments musicaux D. 780Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal, AmsterdamET'CETERA KTC 1468
1988Brahms6 Pieces for piano, Op. 118Private recordingWebsite Youri Egorov Foundation

See also

  • List of Eastern Bloc defectors

References

  1. Brokken, Jan (October 2008). In het huis van de dichter (Second ed.). Amsterdam/Antwerpen: Uitgeverij Atlas. p. 129. ISBN 9789045014821.
  2. Mach, Elyse. "Great Contemporary Pianists Speak for Themselves" Dover Publications 1991. Pg 46. (ISBN 0-486-26695-8)
  3. Gershunoff, Maxim, and Leon Van Dyke. "It's Not All Song and Dance: A Life Behind the Scenes in the Performing Arts." Pompton Plains, N.J.: Limelight Editions, 2005. Pg 137-138. (ISBN 0-879-10310-8)
  4. Rockwell, John (20 April 1988). "Youri Egorov, 33, a Soviet Pianist Who Defected to Further His Art". New York Times. p. 9. Retrieved 24 January 2009.
  5. David Patrick Stearns (2008-08-19). "Recalling a pianist's fleeting brilliance". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. E01. The combination of bad habits and sheltered existence perhaps explains why, on seeking political asylum during a tour in Italy, he cluelessly took his case to the Communist police. Somehow, he was treated sympathetically, and made his way to Amsterdam (a fine place for practicing bad habits), where he's said to have been discovered sleeping on a park bench by the man who later became his partner. Though Egorov's stated reasons for emigrating were political, they in fact had more to with sexual politics. Gay bashing wasn't a common term then, but muggings he described in Moscow more or less amounted to that.
  • Brokken, Jan. "Met Musici: Elf portretten" Uitgeverij De Arbeiderspers Amsterdam 1988. (ISBN 90-295-0794-2)
  • Brokken, Jan. "In het huis van de dichter" Uitgeverij Atlas Amsterdam 2008. (ISBN 9789045014821)
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