Exclusive: Pianist suffers heart failure in concerto – and gets to the end

Exclusive: Pianist suffers heart failure in concerto – and gets to the end


norman lebrecht

April 27, 2022

We’ve been informed of a terrible scare in Vancouver, Washington (USA).

The Georgian pianist Alexander Toradze, 69, was set to perform Stravinsky’s Piano Concerto for Winds & Orchestra and Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 twice last weekend with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. He started feeling unwell on Thursday. Friday it got a bit worse, so he rested in his hotel room for most of the day. By Saturday, he struggled to walk unaided.

Testing negative for COVID, he went ahead with the concert, brilliantly, by most accounts. Afterwards he felt really unwell and Dr. Michael Liu (VSO Board member and Medical Doctor at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, WA) drove him to hospital.

In ER, Toradze was then told that he had acute heart failure while performing. He remains at PeaceHealth until his health is stable.

UPDATE: Lexo speaks to us from his hospital bed.


  • esfir ross says:

    Wish AT full recovery. Brilliant pianist, nice person. I heard him first 1969. He was 16 and blown me away.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    He suffered a few years ago with diabetes too, poor thing.

  • Achim Mentzel says:

    Tremendously powerful pianist and good musician, wishing him a speedy recovery!

  • Nathaniel Rosen says:

    Happened to me, too, in Tokyo in the Saint-saens Concerto #1. Similar scenario. I now have a couple of coronary stents and am happy and healthy. Good luck, Lexo.

  • Heril Steemøen says:

    A scare indeed. Hoping for a steady and complete recovery.

  • Kyle Wiedmeyer says:

    One must wonder what would’ve happened had he performed heavier musiv

  • Peter Lin says:

    Get well, we love pianist.

  • DanP says:

    I believe it’s Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Winds, not Piano Concerto for Winds and Orchestra.

  • Genius Repairman says:

    Amazing. Hope he gets well soon.

  • Patrick says:

    Shear courage and dedication to your art.
    “The show must go on.”

    • Peter San Diego says:

      Sheer courage on Toradze’s part; and great good fortune that Atropos didn’t decide to use her shears.

    • Maria says:

      Yes, a sort of courage as it could have all gone horribly wrong and he collapse and die on stage. Thank God he didn’t and is hopefully recovering. Really wish him well.

  • msc says:

    That’s Vancouver, British Columbia (metro. pop. 2.6 million, with a thriving classical music scene), not Vancouver, Washington (a pleasant town of 180,000).

    • Matt says:

      No, this is Vancouver WA. They have an excellent orchestra, as well.

      • msc says:

        Good heavens! You are correct. I apologize to the Vancouver Symphony and you — I thought it could not be Vancouver, Washington, did a quick online search, and thought I’d ended up at the VSO’s site.
        As I said, Vancouver, Washington, is a lovely town.

  • Tim says:

    Those Georgians are tough!

  • Bernard Von Herrmann says:

    Calls to mind another Russian pianist, Simon Barere, who was not so fortunate. He died on stage at Carnegie Hall on April 2, 1951, while performing the Grieg Concerto with Eugene Ormandy and The Philadelphia Orchestra, at age 54, from a heart attack I believe.

    • Una says:

      Yes, it does happen and really not wise to have carried on with those kinds of symptoms. Wish him a full recovery.

  • Kate says:

    He is not just a pianist, he is a legendary musician and great interpreter of Russian music!!

  • Danny says:

    The power of music

  • Ana says:

    Brilliant pianist. I heared him in Paris in 2012. He was playing Shostakovich’s piano concerto no.2.

  • horbus rohebian says:

    Today we hear the news of his death, Terrible – a great pianist and lovely guy