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Biography

  • Born

    28 September 1942 (age 76)

  • Born In

    Altayskiy kray, Russian Federation

Anatol Ugorski was the fourth-born child of five siblings. In 1945, the Ugorski family moved to Leningrad, where six years later, he went to the conservatory which included an affiliated special music school, although he did not specialize in any instrument. After finishing school in 1960, he studied piano at the Leningrad Conservatory with Nadezhda Golubowskaja. Before graduation, he went through many works by premier (and often controversial) Soviet composers, such as Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, Olivier Messiaen, and Pierre Boulez.

During the time he lived in Leningrad, he played a guest performance of a piece by Pierre Boulez in autumn of 1968 (shortly after the invasion of the Warsaw Pact in Prague) and was met with demonstratively enthusiastic applause, after which he was classified as politically unreliable and prevented from continuing his career. Anatol Ugorski then spent more than ten years as a piano accompanist for concerts by the Young Pioneers choir, with which he toured the entire former Soviet Union. The fact that, with his virtuoso talent, he could become a prominent soloist in just a few concerts under Soviet rule was proof that soon he would have to develop his individual talent in secret, however, given the political climate of the time. His artistic reputation led to him being appointed to a professorship at the Leningrad Conservatory in 1982.

In the summer of 1990, Anatol Ugorski fled to Berlin with his wife and child, after his sixteen year-old daughter, Dina Ugorskaja (now also a pianist), had been severely threatened by supporters of the antisemitic Pamyatmovement. For almost two years, the family lived in a Berlin refugee accommodation. In 1992, at fifty-years old, Ugorski's renown went international, with spectacular concerts at the Conservatory of Milan and the Vienna Festival. Since then, he has been a soloist with leading orchestras, including the Symphony Orchestra of the WDR, Czech Philharmonic, Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Hamburg Symphony Orchestra. The pianist regularly performs at major festivals.

Up until 2007, Anatol Ugorski taught at the Hochschule für Musik Detmold, where he was a Professor of Piano.

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