The Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg has combined training in the core Russian and Western repertory with fresh efforts to expose this repertory to audiences outside the usual classical spheres. Giltburg was born in Moscow in 1984, and his family joined the exodus of Russian Jews to Israel soon after. His first piano teacher, beginning at age five, was his mother. In Israel he studied with the veteran Tel Aviv pianist and teacher Arie Vardi. That pedagogue was a fixture of international prize juries, and Giltburg was schooled in clean reading that appealed to those juries: he took second prize (and the audience prize) at the Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv in 2011 and won first prize two years later at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium, a major honor. Even prior to the former honor, Giltburg had made his debut at the BBC Proms, and these honors propelled him to concerto appearances with the likes of the Philharmonia Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony, Danish Radio Symphony, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and, in the U.S., the Nashville and Baltimore Symphonies. After a disc of Romantic piano sonatas for the Orchid label in 2015, he signed that year with the Naxos label and has recorded Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, and Schumann there, as well as an album of Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6 in A major, Op. 82; Piano Sonata No. 7 in B flat major, Op. 83; and Piano Sonata No. 8 in B flat major, Op. 84, innovatively cast as the "War Sonatas." Vardi's orientation toward a broader public -- he was well known for his television programs introducing classical repertory -- has been reflected in his student's approach: Giltburg maintains a blog devoted to nonspecialist listeners and uses his own photography in many of the graphics associated with his work. ~ James Manheim
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Classical - Released May 11, 2018 | Naxos
Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
While Israeli-Russian pianist Boris Giltburg’s career is taking off all over the world, he has felt very close to Belgium ever since he won first prize in the 2013 Queen Elisabeth Competition. After several recordings for EMI (Warner), here he gives a studio rendition of the Third Concerto, and the Variations on a Theme of Corelli by Sergei Rachmaninov, on his tenth album for Naxos, which completes his often-unique approach to the Russian pianist-composer. The Études-tableaux and the Second Concerto divided opinion, with some seeing him as a "new Glenn Gould" (sic) who would do away with routines, while others drew attention to the total indifference of his style. Boris Giltburg's technique is such that he can give free rein to his imagination while taking care of the minute details of one of the most difficult concertos in the repertoire. Fascinated by the manufacture of instruments, in 2016 he took up the new 102-key piano from French manufacturer Stephen Paulello, a thrilling instrument which the musical world has been eagerly anticipating for a long time, and which proves that, just like in the 19th century, the piano can still evolve towards other sounds. For this Concerto n° 3, recorded at Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall, Boris Giltburg returns to his dear Fazioli piano and is joined by Mexican conductor Carlo Miguel Prieto at the head of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. © François Hudry/Qobuz
Classical - Released February 3, 2015 | Naxos
Russo-Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg has been one of the major prizewinners of the mid-2010s, and it's easy to see why: his suave, technically flawless playing is of the kind that's catnip to prize juries and quite a few members of the critical sphere. He did very well with Prokofiev and even Rachmaninov, where the meaning of the music is contained within technical devices. There is no question that the restrained, lightly poetic path he traces through Schumann's three big early sets of miniatures will be to the taste of listeners who like Schumann wrapped up just so, and find him the progenitor of the countless salon miniatures that followed over the next century or so. There's considerable justification for this position; even as Giltburg plays them, the Papillons, Op. 2, were sufficiently different from anything else being written in 1831 that you can still feel the sensation they made. It's equally true that for many listeners Giltburg's performance of Carnaval, Op. 9, especially, will totally fail to evoke the rambunctious spirit of the holiday portrayed, and throughout the program there is a certain lack of the transgressive dark side the young Schumann embodied. Probably the slighter, fantasy-imbued Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6, come off the best here, but sample well for Schumann with more grit.
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