Alexander Siloti (1863 - 1945)
In the generation prior to 1917, Siloti was one of Russia's most important artists, with music by Arensky, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky dedicated to him. At the Moscow Conservatory he studied piano with Zverev from 1871, and under Nikolai Rubinstein, Taneyev, Tchaikovsky, and Hubert from 1875. He graduated with the Gold Medal in Piano in 1881.
He worked with Liszt in Weimar (1883-1886), co-founded the Liszt-Verein in Leipzig, and there made his professional debut on 19 November 1883. Returning in 1887 Siloti taught at the Moscow Conservatory, where his students included Goldenweiser, Maximov, and first-cousin Rachmaninov. In this period he began work as editor for Tchaikovsky, particularly on the First and Second piano concerti.
He quit the Conservatory in May 1891, and from 1892-1900 lived and toured in Europe. He also toured New York, Boston, Cincinnati and Chicago in 1898.
From 1901-1903 Siloti led the Moscow Philharmonic; from 1903-1917 he organized, financed, and conducted the supremely influential Siloti Concerts in St Petersburg. He presented Auer, Casals, Chaliapin, Enesco, Hofmann, Landowska, Mengelberg, Mottl, Nikisch, Schoenberg and Weingartner, and local and world premieres by Debussy, Elgar, Glazunov, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Rimsky-Korsakov, Scriabin, Sibelius, Stravinsky and others. Diaghilev first heard Stravinsky at a Siloti Concert.
In 1918 Siloti was appointed Intendant of the Mariinsky Theatre, but late the following year fled Soviet Russia for England, finally settling in New York in December 1921. From 1925-1942 he taught at the Juilliard Graduate School, performing occasionally in recital, and in November 1930 gave a legendary all-Liszt concert with Toscanini. Siloti's private students included Marc Blitzstein and Eugene Istomin.
He wrote over 200 piano arrangements and transcriptions, and orchestral editions of Bach, Beethoven, Liszt, Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi where the Bach transcription are probably the most famous. Even though he had a great repertoire and where a famous figure during his life, his fame has gradually faded away making him quite unknown to most people of today but for students of the famous Juilliard conservatory.