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Yakov Flier, Piano

Yakov Flier, Piano


Yakov Flier (1912-1977)

One of the greatest Soviet pianists, Yakov Fliyer was born
in a small town of Orekhovo-Zuevo not far from Moscow.  He studied piano at the Moscow Conservatory
with Konstantin Igumnov, graduating in 1934. 
He won first prize in the Second All-Union Piano Competition in
1935.  And just a year later, he bested
his rival, Emil Gilels, to take first prize at the Vienna International Piano
Competition (Gilels finished second). 
By the end of the 1930s, Fliyer had become one of the most popular
concert pianists in the Soviet Union.

He mainly performed Romantic piano music (Liszt's piano
concertos and the b minor sonata, Schumann, Chopin, Tchaikovsky's First Piano
concerto, Rachmaninov's Concerto No. 3), also devoting time to Beethoven, Scriabin
and Shostakovich. Soviet critics loved Fliyer for his impeccable technique,
great communicative skills, tremendous playing intensity, and the ability to
develop a beautifully-colored and nuanced sound. 

Flier continued to tour the Soviet Union and some European
countries in the early post-war years. 
But he developed a problem in one of his right-hand fingers in 1949,
with his concert career shortly coming to an abrupt halt; Flier didn't play for
another 10 years.  Many doctors, both in
Europe and the USSR, tried to treat Flier, but only in 1959 did a surgeon from
Leningrad managed to help.

Flier resumed concretizing in 1960.  And even though his numerous fans believed
that he belonged to the Pantheon of the Soviet pianism on a par with Richter
and Gilels, it was clear that the 10-year long hiatus affected his career.  Still, in 1962 he went on a tour of several
European countries and Japan, and in 1963 - of the United States.  In New York, he played Rachmaninov's Third
Piano concerto with the Philharmonic under the baton of Leonard Bernstein.  On that same tour he also played in Chicago,
Boston, and several other cities.

Flier taught piano at the Moscow Conservatory for many
years.  By all accounts, he was a very
generous teacher.  Among his students
were Lev Vlasenko, Bella Davidovich, Viktoria Postnikova, Mikhail Pletnev, the
composer Rodion Shchedrin and many other talented musicians.

Flier died in Moscow in 1977.

The six archival recording in our library were all
made in 1936 (Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12), when Flier was 24 years old, and

Performances by Yakov Flier

Composer Title Date Action
Frédéric Chopin Valse in A-flat Major, Op. 34, No. 1 10/20/2009 Play Add to playlist
Felix Mendelssohn Rondo capriccioso, in E Major, Op. 14 10/20/2009 Play Add to playlist
Isaac Albéniz Seguidillas 10/20/2009 Play Add to playlist
Franz Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody no. 12 in c-sharp minor 10/20/2009 Play Add to playlist
Franz Liszt Liebesträume No. 3 in A-flat Major (Dreams of Love) 10/20/2009 Play Add to playlist
Ernst von Dohnányi Capriccio, op. 28 no. 6 in f minor 10/20/2009 Play Add to playlist

Yakov Flier Concerts

No concerts have been entered at this time.