Price: $175.00


Text Box:  PIANIST autographs


Phone: 212-860-5541† *† Fax: 917-677-8247


Autographed Fayer (London) photograph, September 7, 1955.† The photographer has signed the recto and blind stamped the verso.


Isserlis (1888-1968) is considered to be one of the very finest Russian pianists of the early part of the 20th Century.† He grew up in a Jewish household in Kishinev in Moldova, his father a dentist by training and the cantor at the local synagogue. He began his studies at four and was so accomplished by nine that he was accepted at the Kiev Conservatory where he studied with the Polish pianist Włodzimierz Puchalski, a pupil of Leschetiszky.† (Alexander Brailowsky studied with him as well.)† At ten, he was so advanced, Puchalski sent him to study at the Moscow Conservatory with Vassily Safanoff.† A task master, Safonoff and his young pupil did not always agree and the punishments were severe.† He also studied composition with Sergei Tanayev at the Conservatory.† Conversely, Tanayev was Isserlisís favorite and Tanayev also spent time with him teaching him other disciplines and he and his wife provided a home for the young pianist.† Isserlis won the Conservatories gold medal upon graduation.


Isserlis decided to further his education and travelled to Paris to study with Charles Marie Widor in 1907.† Whilst in Paris, Isserlis played for Alexander Scriabin who was so impressed he booked the young pianist for his American debut with The Russian Symphony Society at Carnegie Hall.† He played two performances, January 16th, 1908 and January 30th, 1908, the first concert, Chopinís Fantasy on Polish Airs and the second concert, the Lyapunov 1st piano concerto.† Both concerts were huge successes for the pianist, but he grew homesick and returned after three weeks, his only time in the United States.† He was offered a major tour which he did not accept.† He was hired when he returned as Professor at the College of the Imperial Philharmonic Society, the only Jew on the staff who did not have to convert.† After a 1916 recital in Odessa, he married a the eldest daughter of a well to do Jewish family and remained there, though not for long.† After the Revolution Julius was back in Moscow playing for Leninís regime in concerts designed to inspire the workers.† In 1922, Isserlis was selected as on of twelve musical ambassadors by the Russian government.† They allowed his family to go with him and he moved to Vienna.† He moved into an apartment which was owned by the niece of Beethovenís landlady who at first had second thoughts about taking a musician based upon her auntís experience.† Whilst in Vienna he became part of the musical society there, performing, composing, teaching and serving on juries.† He also was a stopping point for famous Russian musicians on tour.† Fortuitously, Isserlis was on tour in England when the Anschluss occurred in 1938 and remained, gaining his residency four months later.† Via a series of complexities, his family was able to join him there.† At the age of fifty, he was forced to once again start fresh.† Living in London, Isserlis taught, composed and like Dame Myra Hess, gave lunchtime recitals at the National Gallery.† He gave two Chopin recitals at Wigmore Hall which were broadcast by the BBC and the toured the country with the Wessex Philharmonic. (Later they were renamed the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.)† After the War, his career was sidelined by younger pianists, though he played well into his seventies.† He was stricken with Parkinsonís disease in 1963.†† Isserlis left relatively few recordings including a superb reading of Scriabinís op. 11 preludes, as well as a few live recordings.† His grandson is cellist Steven Isserlis.


A scarce pianist autograph!