Persons related to Chopin Persons related to Chopin

Ryszard Bakst

Ryszard Bakst

Ryszard Bakst

*4 IV 1926 Warszawa, †25 III 1999 Manchester

Winner 6th award IV Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition in Warszawa (1949) – was born into an artistically inclined family. His father was an amateur musician and his mother a pianist and pedagogue – a student of the famous virtuosos Józef Śliwiński and Józef Turczyński. He initially began learning music under the guidance of his mother, but soon Prof. Józef Turczyński took an interest in him and guided his studies until the outbreak of World War II (1939).

The first months of the war were a nightmare for the 13 year-old boy (who lost part of his family), but thanks to the kindness of strangers he was transported to the Urals. He completed middle school in Sverdlovosk and studied piano under Abram Lufer (winner of the 1927 Chopin Competition)

He began piano studies at the Moscow Conservatory in 1944 under Prof. Constantine Igumnov. He transferred to Prof. Henryk Neuhaus’ class his graduating year. He received his diploma in 1947.

That same year (1947), he returned to Poland and began pedagogical work as a piano teacher as well as developing his concert career. For several years, he benefited from consultations with Prof. Zbigniew Drzewiecki, who prepared him for the Fourth Chopin Competition in Warszawa. Bakst made it though the elimination rounds to qualify as a finalist eventually winning the 6th award.

He played concerts in many European countries and the USA. He performed many times on London (at the Royal Festival Hall among others) in New York (at Carnegie Hall among other places). To great adulation he played a large selection of Chopin's works, Beethoven's, Schumann's, Paderewski's, Zarębski's but also the works of modern composers such as Piston, Honegger, Kabaleski, Shostakovich, Milhaud, Copland and others.

In 1968, as a result of pressuring by the communist authorities in Poland, Bakst immigrated to Great Britain, where he lived until his death. He continued to develop his concert career and taught piano at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Thanks to his initiative, on 17 October 1973, a statue of Chopin was placed in the College hall commemorating Chopin's sojourn in Manchester 125 years earlier. Ryszard Bakst was also responsible for the organisation of an annual master's school for young pianists in Duszniki (Poland), the place where Chopin had played a famous benefit concert for orphans in the summer of 1826.

The artist recorded several records in Poland (Polskie Nagrania 'Muza') and the USA (Westminster), featuring Chopin's compositions (complete Mazurkas and Preludes among others), Beethoven, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Paderewski, Zarębski and others.

Ryszard Bakst was a dedicated pedagogue his entire artistic career. He was a professor of piano at every music school in Wrocław (1950-1953), Warszawa (1953-1968) and Manchester (1969-1999).

In 1990, he sat on the jury for the Twelfth Chopin Competition in Warszawa. After his death, as an act of commemoration, an award was endowed at the Royal Northern College of Music, which is awarded annually to the school's most gifted pupil.


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