Kirill Kondrashin is regarded as one of the most brilliant Russian conductors of the 20th century and a great interpreter of Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, and Mahler. In Kirill Kondrashin: His Life in Music, Gregor Tassie presents a full biography of the artist, from his humble background and early conducting experience at age 17, through his 20 years in Leningrad and at the Bolshoi Theatre; from his breaking with the Bolshoi and the expanded symphonic career that followed, through his defection in 1978, and his unexpected death of a heart attack in 1981. Using first hand accounts and previously unavailable archive materials from the Soviet Party and KGB sources, Tassie provides a detailed view of Kondrashin's life and work, including his appointment as the first Russian conductor to visit America and meet President Eisenhower and his associations with such artists as Emil Gilels, David Oistrakh, Mstislav Rostropovich, Van Cliburn, and Dmitri Shostakovich. The book also supplies insight and information on the nature of the society in which Kondrashin lived, including political life in the Soviet Union from the 1920s until the 1970s and relations between East and West. Twenty photos are included, as well as a full discography, bibliography, and index, making this a fascinating resource for anyone interested in 20th century music, as well as life in the USSR.
His Life in Music