Leo Smit - Playing the work he commissioned.

The NBC Summer Symphony With Milton Katims And Leo Smit Play Music Of Mozart And Haieff – 1953 – Past Daily Weekend Gramophone

Leo Smit - Playing the work he commissioned.
Leo Smit – Playing the work he commissioned.

NBC Summer Symphony with Milton Katims, Conductor – Leo Smit, Piano – 1953 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

More rarities.This week it’s The NBC Summer Symphony series featuring conductor Milton Katims and pianist Leo Smit in music by Mozart and Alexei Haieff. Mozart’s Symphony Number 41 (Jupiter) and the broadcast premier of Alexei Haieff’s Piano concerto, with the work’s commissioner, Leo Smit as soloist. The concert was recorded on April 18, 1953 (a bit early for Summer but . . . ).

Born in Blagoveshchensk, in the Russian Far East, Alexei Haieff received his primary education at Harbin, Manchuria. Raised in Manchuria from the age of six, Haieff went to the United States in 1931. He received piano lessons privately from Alexander Siloti and studied at the Juilliard School (1934–38) under Rubin Goldmark and Frederick Jacobi at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City (1934–38). In 1938-39 he also studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He became a U.S. citizen and held U.S. citizenship for 55 years, until his death.

He held a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1946 and again in 1949, and was a Fellow at the American Academy in Rome (1947–48). His Divertimento (1944) was choreographed by George Balanchine in 1947. He won the Rome Prize in 1949. He was a professor at the University at Buffalo (1962–68), and composer-in-residence at the University of Utah (1968–70). His Piano Concerto won the New York Music Critics’ Circle Award (1952) and his 2nd Symphony the American International Music Fund Award (1957).

Haieff’s notable students include Paul Ramsier.

He was married to Sheila Jeanne Agatha van Meurs in 1988. He died in Rome, Italy, at the age of 79.

The Haieff Concerto won the New York Critics Circle Award in 1953 and the award was presented during the mid-point of the concert by Music Critic Howard Taubman, who was Chairman of the New York Critics circle.

And you get to hear it here.


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