The musician’s musician turns 80 tomorrow

The musician’s musician turns 80 tomorrow


norman lebrecht

July 05, 2017

Vladimir Ashkenazy will blow out 80 candles tomorrow.

Decca is bringing out an album of Bach suites.

Soft-spoken, modest and unfailingly friendly, in any international poll of him fellow-musicians Vova would surely emerge as the most popular living classical artist.



  • Andy says:

    My earliest memory of classical music is a record my dad had of Ashkenazy playing Beethoven’s Emperor concerto with George Solti and the CSO. Exquisite playing. I have many of his recordings now and so often his ‘touch’ in the most gentle and lyrical passages still (to me) sounds pretty much unrivaled.

    I’m not a musician or an expert, but there’s just something about his playing that moves the soul, fabulous.

  • Michael says:

    Ashkenazy’s set of Rachmaninoff recordings witg the Concertgebouw Orchestra are some of my favorite recordings ever. Especially the recording of The Bells and the 3rd symphony.

  • Peter says:

    My first introduction to Ashkenazy was the recording of him conducting Sibelius tone poems with the Philharmonia. It was one of my very first classical CDs and I still love it.

  • PaulD says:

    I first saw him perform when I was a teen in the mid-1970s. I went with friends to see him play the Brahm’s 2nd with the LA Phil. Our $3 student tickets were front row center seats that had been turned in by a subscriber. Over forty years later, I remember his playing vividly, but not what was on the second half of the program.

    • Bruce says:

      Same story in Rochester in 1985. I spotted an empty seat in front row center from my cheap seat in the 2nd balcony during the first half (no recollection of what they played), and sat pretty much underneath the piano for the Brahms 2nd. Not an experience I could ever hope to duplicate, let alone surpass.

  • Thomas says:

    I heard a wonderful concert with both Brahms clarinet sonatas, and the horn trio. A friend of mine turned pages for him and Ashkenazy said he was “nervous” because he hadn’t played the clarinet sonatas – all three works were beautifully played. I also have fond memories of him conducting the Cleveland orchestra – especially memorable was a very emotionally moving performance of the Brahms second symphony. Christoph von Dohnanyi was the principle conductor, but they would play their hearts out for Ashkenazy.

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    A genius and a gentleman. I’ll save my Ashkenazy stories for another day. Long life to this pillar of the musical and humanitarian community.

  • Julian Reynolds says:

    ==I’ll save my Ashkenazy stories for another day.

    We’d love to hear them, so don’t forget Theodore !

  • Sue says:

    He was chief conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for some years.

  • James Hill says:

    Heard him play the Beethoven Emperor with the NY Phil under Ozawa in one of the most eclectic programs I’ve ever experienced. Mozart Seraglio Overture, Beethoven Emperor, (Intermission), Ives 4th Symphony (no chorus – single conductor version), Ginastera Estancia Dances! I believe half the audience evacuated the hall at the intermission. Not because of Ashkenazy who was faultless.

  • Tim Manickam says:

    I love his recordings, especially Rachmaninov and Sibelius (as conductor). And a highlight in my life was hearing him play Beethoven piano sonatas in Columbus, Ohio in the mid 80’s . .fabulous!