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Lazar Berman

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Lazar Naumovich Berman (Russian Лазарь Наумович Берман, Lasari Naumovič Berman February 26, 1930 in Leningrad - February 6, 2005 in Florence) was a Soviet Russian classical pianist.

Berman’s playing showed great technical brilliance, showmanship, emotional and physical force. He had the endurance to play three concertos or sonatas in one night, and was considered a brilliant interpreter of Franz Liszt, winning the 1977 Franz Liszt Prize in Hungary for his interpretation of the Transcendental Studies. Berman once described the driving forces of his style as being lyricism, clarity and virtuosity.

Berman refused to play Chopin, explaining “Of course I used to play him, but many years ago I entered for a Chopin competition in Warsaw and I did not qualify. It was a tremendous blow to my pride, and I vowed that I would never play him again.” His playing of Chopin, however, is well documented, in both a concert film and a DGG recording of the polonaises from the 1970’s.

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