Eugene Istomin, piano

Eugene Istomin

Eugene Istomin was long acknowledged as a leading pianist of the 20th Century. A rare combination of virtuosity, poetic insight and aristocratic style won him international acclaim as a recitalist, orchestral soloist, and chamber musician.

Born in New York City of Russian parents who were both professional singers, Mr. Istomin's prodigious musical gifts were discovered at age six by Alexander Siloti, the distinguished Russian pedagogue. At the age of twelve, he was accepted by the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia to study with Rudolf Serkin and Mieczyslaw Horzowski.

Mr. Istomin came to national attention at age seventeen, as a result of winning both the Leventritt and Philadelphia Orchestra Youth Awards, making sensational debuts in the same week with both the Philadelphia and New York Philharmonic Orchestras. In 1950, he was the youngest performer at the first Prades Festival under the artistic direction of Pablo Casals. From then he gave more than 4,000 concerts with the world's leading orchestras and appeared in recital on six continents, performing with such legendary conductors as Bruno Walter, Fritz Reiner, George Szell, Charles Munch, Dimitri Mitropolous, Eugene Ormandy, and Leonard Bernstein.

No less impressive than his career as a soloist were his celebrated performances with the legendary Istomin - Stern - Rose Trio, which was formed in 1960 with his friends Isaac Stern and Leonard Rose. Many of their recordings are still held as exemplifying the highest standards in music-making.

Mr. Istomin, who had been suffering from liver cancer, died aged 77 on October 10th, 2003 in Washington D. C.