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Lazar Berman - 1939-2005

From Andrea Hentschke
Arts Music

Dear Friends and colleagues:

The surprising news of Lazar Bermans death came to our ears yesterday. He
died on February 6th, only a few days before his 75 th birthday.

Lazar Berman was born in Leningrad in 1930. As a pupil of Alexander
Goldenweiser at the Moscow Conservatory, he was influenced by great
musicians like Sviatoslav Richter and Vladimir Sofronitsky. For a long time
he was known as a greatly admired piano player only in the Soviet Union and
other Eastern European countries. He was able to play the last movement of
Chopin's B flat minor Sonata in less than fifty seconds.

His triumphant career in the western countries took place in the mid
seventies. The American concert agent Jaques Leiser incidentally discovered
his recording of the Études d´exécution transcendante from Liszt and shortly
declared him the only true successor of Gilels and Richter. It only took him
a few months to prove him right. On his concerts, that were always booked
out, his audience was all the time thrilled by his musical interpretations
and his great, romantic style.

The great concerthalls, conductors and label companys simply did everything
to get the chance to make concerts and recordings with this prodigy from the
east. Within a few month, he had made numerous outstanding and worldwide
known recordings, among them also the Tchaikovsky concerts with Herbert von

In the year 1980, only a few years after the beginning of his great break
through in the west, the sensational career of Lazar Berman suddenly
stopped. An illegal book found by the Soviet customs in Bermans luggage,
was to become his doom. For four years the UDSSR did not allow him to leave
the country. Too short to completely be forgotten but long enough to not
being able to tie in with his world career once again. After that time Lazar
Berman had to start almost from the beginning.

Lazar Berman moved to Italy in 1990 and had been an Italian citizen since
1994. There, he taught at the Music Conservatory in Imola and encouraged
young talent with great enthusiasm. In 1995, he took on a guest
professorship for two semesters at the music conservatory in Weimar.

ARTS regrets the loss of this great and talented piano player very much. And
even more as ARTS have just released on the Archives series an unpublished
recording of Liszt's first Piano Concerto, conducted by another great
personality, Peter Maag (ARTS ARCHIVES 43041-2 - to be reviewed).

As a result of this sad occurrence we declared this recording "CD of the
month". Please have a look on our website for more details. Furthermore we want to celebrate his artistry with this wonderful performance: he was and he will always remain a great pianist.

Andrea Hentschke
product manager


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