Shura Cherkassky

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Shura Cherkassky (; 7 October 1909 – 27 December 1995) was a Russian- American classical pianist known for his performances of the romantic repertoire. His playing was characterized by a virtuoso technique and singing piano tone. For much of his later life, Cherkassky resided in Britain.

Early years

Alexander Isaakovich Cherkassky (Shura is a diminutive form of Alexander) was born in Odessa, Russia (now in Ukraine) in 1909. Cherkassky's family fled to the United States to escape the Russian Revolution.

Cherkassky's first music lessons were from his mother, Lydia Cherkassky, who once played for Tchaikovsky in St. Petersburg. She also taught the pianist Raymond Lewenthal. In the United States, Cherkassky continued his piano studies at the Curtis Institute of Music under Josef Hofmann. Before studying with Hofmann, however, Cherkassky auditioned for Sergei Rachmaninoff, who advised him to give up performing for at least two years and to change the position of his hands at the keyboard. Conversely, Hofmann suggested Cherkassky should continue giving concerts, and this long association with public performance meant that Cherkassky felt comfortable before an...
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