The title of this highly absorbing book is deceptively general, for the story of Gregory Haimovsky (b. 1926), one of the least well known of the great pianists of the twentieth century, is not so much about his emigration from Russia, but mainly an account of his early career and, most importantly, his heroic attempts to introduce the music of Olivier Messiaen to the Soviet Union of Khrushchev and Brezhnev, where Stalin’s legacy was very much alive, both in the stultifying dogma of Socialist Realism and, still more seriously, in the continued conviction of Russian supremacism and virulent antisemitism…[Marissa] Silverman has successfully performed a labour of love which, it must be hoped, will not only paint a picture of a great man, but also of a whole era in Soviet life, both provincial and metropolitan, through a sensitive and perceptive musician’s eyes. It deserves to be widely read. –Arnold McMillin, University of London for THE SLAVONIC AND EAST EUROPEAN REVIEW  

For a non-musicologist such as myself, this is an accessible book which tells a compelling story. Haimovsky’s personal qualities of courage and integrity are convincingly displayed, and the Russian word “grazhdantsvennost”, a blend of the concepts of generosity and citizenship, perhaps best expresses his personality, exemplified by his tireless attempts both to fight a brutal system and to fulfil the artist’s mission, to transmit aesthetic and spiritual values through their work. –Douglas Mark Ponton, University of Catania for JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN STUDIES

A talented pianist, who was not always prepared to toe the official line.–Mark Cotton,  BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE

Biography of a Pianist

Gregory Haimovsky is a critically acclaimed concert pianist. He has performed and recorded in many countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Lithuania, Russia, Israel, Turkey, Canada, and the USA.

Although he is known for the breadth of his repertoire, he has been celebrated for his interpretations of Debussy (e.g., Preludes, Estampes, ImagesChildren’s Corner) and Messiaen (e.g., Quartet For the End of TimeTwenty Regards On Infant Jesus, excerpts from Catalogue of Birds; Exotic Birds: Three Little Liturgies: Harawi; Visions de l’Amen; Etudes of Rhythm; and Turangalila Symphony).  The New York Times described his Messiaen performances as “breathtaking.”

In addition, Haimovsky has been praised for his recordings of Chopin, Schumann, and Brahms. His performances of the following works can be heard on Helicon Records: Mozart Concerti K. 413, 414, 415; Debussy: 24 Preludes, Children’s Corner, Images Book II.  Additionally, Haimovsky recorded for Musicians Showcase Recordings: Poetical Inspirations I: Schumann, Brahms, Liszt, and Messiaen; Mozart Concerti K. 246, 271; Poetical Inspirations II: Chopin, Debussy, and Messiaen. According to The American Record Guide, his recordings of Debussy “join Michelangeli, Gieseking, and Arrau as definitive.”

From 1965-1972 Haimovsky was Editor of the Music Education and Music Criticism sections of Soviet Musical Magazine, the primary journal published by the USSR Ministry of Culture and the USSR Composers Society in Moscow. During this time, Haimovsky published dozens of articles such as: “Knowing the Score of Turangalila”; “Hearing Jolivet”; “About the Works and Theories of Olivier Messiaen”; “A Performer of Music – What Is He?”; “Painting and Music – the Music of Churleonis, Lithuanian Artist and Composer”; “Musical Recordings and Their Role in the Teaching Process”; “Panorama of Creativity – Contemporary Composers of Leningrad.”

Haimovsky continues to be an active writer who has published books in Russia and the USA. His first book, In Search of the Isle of Joy, is dedicated to philosophical discussions of the performing arts. His second book, White Buffalo, appeared as a continuation of his thoughts on the aesthetics of performing as expressed in the free form of narrative fiction. Additionally, he has published three works of fiction for Liberty Publishing House: Raphael’s Testament, Violino d’Amore, and Dilettante.

From 1987 to 2003, Haimovsky was Professor of piano, chamber studies, and aesthetics at New York University.