Vasily Ilyich Safonov Russie Vasily Ilyich Safonov (Russian: Васи́лий Ильи́ч Сафо́нов, Vasi'lij Ilji'č Safo'nov, also known as Wassily Safonoff) (6 February 1852 ? 27 February 1918) was a Russian pianist, teacher, conductor and composer.
Safonov, or Safonoff as he was known in the West during his lifetime, was born at Itschory, Russian Caucasus, the son of a Russian officer of Cossacks. He was educated at the Lycee Imperial Alexandra, Saint Petersburg, and at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory of Music 1881-1885. He graduated as Bachelor of Laws, and won the gold medal as a pianist of the Conservatory. He was also a pupil of Theodor Leschetizky and Nikolai Zaremba.
Safonov was never a particularly successful composer in his own right, but was a master music educator, becoming Director of the Moscow Conservatory in 1889. He was also the director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York. He was the teacher of some of the best Russian pianists, notably Alexander Scriabin, Nikolai Medtner, Josef Lhévinne and Rosina Bessie (later Lhévinne).
After retiring from teaching, Safonov became well known as a conductor. He was the conductor of the first Moscow performance of Tchaikovsky's Pathétique Symphony (No. 6), on 4/16 December 1893, seven weeks after its premiere under the composer's baton and six weeks after his death. He conducted nearly all the principal orchestras in Europe, including the Philharmonic Orchestras of Berlin, Vienna and Prague, the Lamoureux Orchestra of Paris, the London Symphony, the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and the New York Philharmonic Society. In his day his audiences were somewhat puzzled when he never used a baton. He is considered the first modern conductor to dispense with its use entirely. (Hide extended text) ... (Read all) Source : Wikipedia
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