“Steinway is the only piano on which the pianist can do everything he wants and everything he dreams. Steinway gives the pianist every opportunity.” October 25, 1957
Born into a musical Russian family, Vladimir Ashkenazy made his debut in Moscow at eight years old and was subsequently put on track for a musical career and enrolled in Moscow's Central Music School. After several successes in international competitions, Ashkenazy left the Soviet Union for London with his wife, Icelandic pianist Sofia Johannsdottir, on a concert tour and stayed there, building a fruitful relationship with the British record label Decca. He would go on to pursue conducting as well.
His piano playing is bright and incisive, with clear articulation and intellectual depth that does not interfere with the production of warm feeling. He has exceptional control over tone color. Although he possesses a considerable degree of sheer strength, his excellent playing in delicate passages creates the dominant impression. His repertoire is wide-ranging, and he has recorded most of it, from Haydn to the works of the first half of the twentieth century. He has made particularly valuable recordings of the complete piano works of Chopin, Rachmaninov, and Scriabin. Other excellent series include music of Brahms, Liszt, and the complete Prokofiev concertos. As a conductor, he is highly effective in Russian music, particularly in Prokofiev, and has made the leading recording of that composer's Romeo and Juliet. He has made his own orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and recorded the work in that highly effective version, in Gortchakov's orchestration, and in its original form as a piano solo. He remains active in both careers.
Ashkenazy has been a Steinway Artist since 1957.