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Russian pianist who shared prize with Sviatoslav Richter has died, aged 94

In 1945, Victor Merzhanov came joint first in the third all-USSR piano competition. The other winner was Richter. Merzhanov was chosen by Prokofiev to give the first performance of his sixth sonata (Richter received the seventh). He went on to perform with the major Soviet orchestras and to make many recordings.


Merzhanov was named professor at the Moscow Conservatory in 1947 and taught there for 60 years. The Conservatory announced his death today.

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  1. Romuald Sztern says:

    Would just like to express my heartfelt gratitude to You Sir for publishing this site. As an ex-musician currently working as junior doctor in the field of psychiatry as well as coaching pianists Your site keeps me in touch with the world of professional music making . It helps create a sense of values where not only the most advertised but also other important developments get attention. The personal news ,mr Merzanovs passing being a case in point, are valuable and often touching highliting individuals that for years gave their best to the world of art music.

    Happy New Year to You.

  2. steve wigler says:

    A wonderful pianist, whose recordings were my first introduction to Brahms’s Paganini Variations, Liszt’s Paganini Etudes, Scriabin’s Opus 8 etudes and Sonata No. 5 — the last of these recordings equalled only by Richter’s very different live recordings. I never got the chance to hear Merzhanov live, but will always remember having lunch with him in Moscow in 1998, when he was a very youthful 80.

    • Mary Terrill says:

      i have never before heard of this pianist. He is wonderful. i played the Schubert Impromptu
      as a kid and love it still. so glad to hear it now.

  3. Dear All,

    My Dearest Professor – Professor Merzhanov (1919-2012), the Master of Russian Piano School, was leaving us on 20 December 2012 forever. I believe all people who love him must feel sad at this moment. He has been working at the Moscow Conservatory for 65 years, until his last day on the earth, at the age of 94. As an active concert performer (he performed more than 2000 concerts) and devoted piano educator, he trained lots of outstanding musicians from decades to decades. It is precious and honored to be his student. He teaches me how to be a contributing musician.Professor Merzhanov, thank you very much! I will not forget you. I love you forever.

    With Deepest Love,

    Your student – Joanna Li

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