American pianist Byron Janis has performed with some of the greatest conductors of the twentieth century, including Arturo Toscanini, Eugene Ormandy and Fritz Reiner. He was also the first piano student (and one of only three total) that Vladimir Horowitz ever accepted. At the age of 89, Janis is releasing not one but three new albums.
In 1960, Janis became the first American invited to give a concert tour in the Soviet Union. Unbeknownst to him, all of his live concerts were recorded.
Those unauthorized recordings from his performances in Leningrad were given to him over half a century later and now appear on this new album. These live performances include sonatas by Mozart, Chopin and Copland as well as music of Liszt, Schumann and Falla.
Janis returned to the Soviet Union in 1962, where he recorded music (with his permission) of Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky with Kirill Kondrashin and the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. Diagnosed with arthritis in both hands in the early 1970s, Janis took a hiatus from performing until the 1990s. In 2010, he published a memoir that is currently being adapted for the screen by Martin Scorsese.