Death of a much-recorded US pianist, 86

Death of a much-recorded US pianist, 86


norman lebrecht

March 13, 2018

The international pianist Ivan Davis died last night in Miami.

A protege of Vladimir Horowitz, who took him home to dinner in 1960 after Davis won a Liszt competition in New York, Davis recorded for CBS in the 1960s and Decca the following decade.

He blazed new trails for the music of two Americans, Louis Moreau Gottschalk and George Antheil. His Gershwin records were bestsellers.

He taught at the University of Miami.



  • James says:

    An exciting, under-rated player..

  • Penny Furr says:

    An incredible pianist, a wonderful person. He instilled a love of music in every student. It is hard to imagine a world without him in it.

  • Robin Higgs says:


  • Robin Higgs says:

    Thanks Ivan Davis had a flawless technique and inspired me to perform many of
    Gottschalk’s pieces that he played

  • Herbie G. says:

    I have just seen this entry. As a devoted Gottschalk fan, I bought Davis’s Gottschalk album when it came out on LP in 1975 – at that time recordings of his works were relatively few and far between. I was staggered by the phenomenal precision of his playing, the infectious joie-de-vivre that permeated each piece and his peerless virtuosity, which effortlessly transcended every diabolical challenge meted out to the hapless performer who attempts these pieces.

    The quality of this recording fully matched the standard of the playing and I always hoped that this recording would make it to CD. It did, but as far as I know it was released only in the USA – but I did find a copy in London it can still be found on Amazon for a ridiculous price. It’s scandalous that this has not been re-released on Eloquence as it’s simply one of the best piano recordings ever made.

    As for Mr Davis, I am amazed that he did not become one of the world’s foremost virtuosi and I mourn his passing, though at a ripe old age.

  • Ondina says:

    Ivan Davis was my neighbor for many years. His home studio was directly across my bedroom. He would play very late into the night. While in law school, I would open my bedroom windows to hear him play after a long day of miserable studying. and let him lull me to sleep. An added bonus was the aroma of bread baking from Holsum Bakeries just 2 or 3 miles away. I still remember the day he moved in, seeing the piano being rolled in, not yet aware what lay in store, totally unaware it was Ivan’s gorgeous piano. Those are memories I will always cherish. How fortunate he was my neighbor and that we have recordings so that we can continue to enjoy his gift.