Phone: 212-860-5541 


Price: $175.00


Original 9.5” x 11.75” (mount) photograph of the concert pianist and pedagogue with a dedication from student on the verso, March 14, 1923.  The student writes, To dear teacher Ignatiyu Albertovichy Glasser, Giving life to my understanding of music, From,  the signature is indecipherable and several Russians have reviewed it and cannot make it out.  That said, it would appear the student took this photograph of Glasser at the piano with an edition of the Kullak edited Chopin Preludes on the music desk, mounted it and presented the photograph to him.  We cannot stress the rarity of Glasser images and he is extremely important as he was Dmitri Shostakovich’s first music teacher.

Glasser (1862-1925) was born in Warsaw and entered the Warsaw Conservatory in 1877 where he was a pupil of Rudolf Strobel who had also taught Paderewski.  The pianist graduated in 1881 and began a career as a concert pianist.  The Parisian trained concert pianist and critic Jan Kleczyński gave his first Warsaw recital a rave review.

Glasser continues his career as a concert pianist until 1886, when he is appointed piano instructor at the Imperial Russian Music Society Conservatory in the St. Petersburg District port city of Kronstadt.  The same year he opened his own music school in the Tsarskoe Selo suburb of St. Petersburg where piano, violin, cello, voice, music theory and music history were offered to children through high school age.  He led the Glasser Music School until 1917.  In 1899 he founded the St. Petersburg Association of Music Teachers and Other Musical Artists.  The Glasser piano training method included his trill technique for which the term “Glasser’s Trills” and were expected of all his students in recital.

Dimitri Shostakovich began his first piano lessons with his conservatory trained mother at the age of nine in 1915.  He advanced quickly and within a year, he was brought to Glasser who was a family friend.  He studied the first year with Glasser’s wife and was promoted to Glasser who gave him a solid piano foundation, however, the young Shostakovich wanted to explore composition and Glasser treated my composing quite skeptically and didn’t encourage me. (Testimony The Memoirs of Dimitri Shostakovich, related and edited by Solomon Volkov, Limelight Edition, 2000 p 5.)Glasser fed him a steady diet of Bach fugues and Haydn and Mozart sonatas. Bored, his mother in 1918, took him to her own teacher, Alexandra Rozanova.   Shostakovich’s boyhood friend and fellow Glasser pupil Boris Lossky in an interview remembered it very differently and said that, I think that sadly for Glasser, plans were already afoot for both Mitya (Shostakovich) and Musya (Mariya Shostakovich, Dmitri’s elder sister) to leave his courses and to transfer to the Conservatoire class of Alexandra Rozanova…..Sofiya Vasilyevna (Shostakovich’s mother) felt forced to take this decision because of Glasser’s irritable temper….and his impatient demands…. ( Shostakovich A Life Remembered, Elizabeth Wilson, Princeton Press, 1994, p. 14)  Wilson notes that Shostakovich’s 1926 memoirs differ.  She goes on to say that the Shostakovich’s never spoke with Glasser again which leads one to believe the Lossky account over the composer’s.  

Glasser also taught the important Soviet jazz masters, Leonid and Alexander Diedrichs, who without the Russian Revolution would have inherited the family piano manufacturing business, the oldest in Russia.  The factory closed in 1918 at the close of the Revolution.  Glasser retired after the Revolution, however, his school continued, renamed The State Budget People’s Conservatory and then after his death in 1925, the    I. G. Glasser Conservatory and his wife ran the school until 1929, when the house the Conservatory was located was repossessed by the government and she was asked to leave.  It is claimed that so many of his pupil’s passed on the “Glasser Trills” that you still hear them in piano classes today. 

On a side note, Maria Glasser, the pianist’s daughter was Vladimir Lenin’s personal secretary and the one person it is said that he confided his deepest secrets. That said, after his death in 1924 her power evaporated. Maria was married to the Revolutionary economist Nikolai Sukhanov whose star started to fade in 1928 over some agricultural theories he foisted on the Politiburo.  It is likely the government repossessed the music school home in 1929 in retaliation.  Sukhamov was arrested in July, 1930, tried and imprisoned for 10 years.  Released early, he was re-arrested in 1937 and shot as a spy for the Germans in 1940. (He confessed after torture)  The Conservatory home became the home of a senior member of the local government and burnt to the ground in 2013.

Scarce in any form!