Piatigorsky | The Swan by Saint-Saëns
Piatigorsky | Artist & Teacher
- Excerpted from Gregor Piatigorsky: The Life and Career of the Virtuoso Cellist (2010) by Terry King – The life of Gregor Piatigorsky is well known—his rise from the impoverished Moscow of the World War I years to solo cellist of the Bolshoi Theatre at 15; His dangerous escape to Poland, where he quickly became solo cellist of the Warsaw Philharmonic and in turn, the Berlin Philharmonic by his 21st birthday.
- Gregor Piatigorsky’s teaching legacy is palpable today, as it has been for generations. Piatigorsky trained the principal cellists of leading orchestras in Boston, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Berlin, London, Vancouver, Toronto and many more.1 Among soloists and chamber notables are Nathaniel Rosen, Leslie Parnas, Steven Isserlis, Raphael Wallfisch, Jeffrey Solow, Paul Tobias, Mischa Maisky, Denis Brott, Erling Blöndal Bengsston, Stephen Kates, William De Rosa, Gert von Bülow, Paul Katz and Laurence Lesser who owe much to their study with Piatigorsky. His students also occupy important teaching positions in leading conservatories and universities, perpetuating his example for future generations. Read more>>
Piatigorsky | Core Principles
- Piatigorsky’s teaching ideas are revealed through his own words. The following quotes illuminate Piatigorsky’s unique ways of communicating with, challenging and inspiring his students. To read more about Piatigorsky’s life, performance career and teaching, turn to Terry King’s recently published biography of Piatigorsky: Gregor Piatigorsky: The Life and Career of the Virtuoso Cellist (McFarland & Co., 2010).
- “The best thing a musician can possibly do after he has acquired a great deal of experience is to pass it on to younger musicians. So many people are now gone—Kreisler, Toscanini, Rachmaninoff—who never had students. This is a great loss, and we must not repeat the mistake.”
- “I’ll stop teaching when I stop learning.” Read more>>
Piatigorsky | Tributes
- From Zubin Mehta – It was with the greatest awe that I looked forward to my first meeting with Gregor Piatigorsky. At dinner after one of his celebrated chamber-music concerts in 1961 with Jascha Heifetz, I asked him just one question regarding his recollections of Richard Strauss’ conducting of Don Quixote. His reply took over the rest of the evening. As a matter of fact, it continued for the next 15 years through endless hours of conversations and quite a few of concerts. I cannot forget the first of these performances. It was born out of a talk while we were swimming off Puerto Rico in 1967. We both had been invited by Pablo Casals to perform at his festival. Piatigorsky’s Don Quixote was one of such beauty that during the great F-sharp-major variation I turned for a glimpse of Casals, who always sat in the wings. He was weeping. I think at one point or another all of us were weeping. For my part, I had joined a colleague with whom I breathed musically with such complete oneness that after a performance of a work that took just over 30 minutes, we found ourselves closer than six previous years of discussing that same work had brought us. Communication between two musicians on a spiritual level is a phenomenon that cannot be defined accurately—it is more the unspoken word—the meaning that lies between the notes that draws us closer to one another. Read more>>