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Virtuoso pianist Vladimir Horowitz was born in Kiev on this date in 1903. He received piano lessons as a young child from his mother, then entered the Kiev Conservatory at age 9. Horowitz made his first appearance outside the USSR in 1925, and did not return; he was soon touring in Paris, London, and New York, and gave his debut in Carnegie Hall on January 12, 1928. “[I]t has been years since a pianist created such a furor with an audience in this city,” commented the New York Times. Despite his great success at an early age, however, Horowitz was an unconfident, self-critical musican who suffered from depression and self-loathing about his homosexuality, and withdrew from public performance for years at a time (1936-38, 1953-65, 1969-74, 1983-85). His recordings and television appearances nevertheless sustained his reputation as one of the greatest classical musicians in history. Horowitz died at 86 in 1989.To see him playing Chopin for seven minutes, look below.
“I take terrible risks. Because my playing is very clear, when I make a mistake you hear it. If you want me to play only the notes without any specific dynamics, I will never make one mistake. Never be afraid to dare.” —Vladimir Horowitz