Lazar Naumovich Berman (Russian: Лазарь Наумович Берман, Lazarʹ Naumovič Berman; February 26, 1930 – February 6, 2005) was a Soviet Russian classical pianist. As a technician, Berman was extraordinary in terms of sheer evenness, control, and rhythmic panache, yet he always channeled his considerable craft toward musical ends.
Berman was appointed an Honoured Artist of the RSFSR in 1988.
Berman was born to Jewish parents in Leningrad. His mother, Anna Lazarevna Makhover, had played the piano herself until ear problems stopped her. She introduced the boy to the piano, and he entered his first competition at the age of three, and recorded a Mozart fantasia and a mazurka that he had composed himself at the age of seven, before he could even read music. Emil Gilels described him as a "phenomenon of the musical world". When Lazar was nine, the family moved to Moscow so that he could study with Aleksandr Goldenweiser at the Conservatoire, as well as Sviatoslav Richter, Vladimir Sofronitsky and Maria Yudina. The next year he made his formal debut playing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25 with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1941, students, pupils and parents were evacuated to Kuibishev, a city on the Volga, because of World War II. Living conditions were so poor that his mother had to cut the fingers from a pair of gloves to allow him to continue to practise without freezing his hands...
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