October 7 is the 110th birth jubilee of the illustrious pianist Shura Cherkassky
Shura Cherkassky - one of the major musicians in the world, the most prominent pianist of the 20th century. His biography is nontypical as well as his creative character. The fact that Cherkassky was never taught music (except several lessons or, rather, consultations with Erving Goffman, that Cherkassky took, being a mature artist) was unusual. However, already at the age of 12, the young son of the Jewish emigrants from Odessa, directly on arrival to the USA, played with the Symphony orchestra, performing concerts by Schumann and Liszt. Cherkassky, thus, was not only the “child prodigy”, but perhaps the only embodiment of the Sholem Aleichem type of “Jewish folk musician genius” in the academic culture as well.
Cherkassky’s repertoire was grandiose - from Bach and clavecinists to Schönberg and Berg, from romantics to Japanese and Chinese music. However, the pianist accomplish a feat, according to the generally accepted opinion, in performing the music of Frédéric Chopin and Robert Schumann. Cherkassky “rediscovered” new tints and shades in the creative world of these composers. It was heroism, epicism, masculinity in the Chopin’s works and tragedy, psychological sharpening of images the Schumann’s compositions. No wonder that the Cherkassky performance of Schumann’s works was compared with the figurative world of Dostoevsky.
For the pianist jubilee we have prepared a musical selection of the compositions by Shura Cherkassky that he performs. Biography of the pianist and composer is in the section Authors.