Igor Markevitch - anything with his name on it was a reason for riveted listening.

Igor Markevitch And l’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande In Concert – 1982 – Past Daily Mid-Week Concert

Igor Markevitch – anything with his name on it was a reason for riveted listening.

– Igor Markevitch – l’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande – in concert – June 30, 1982 – RTS –

Something special, historic and delightful this week. The legendary Igor Markevitch and l’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in a concert of music by Stravinsky, Brahms, and of course Markevitch.

Starting with a performance of his own Psaume for soprano and choir of six sopranos and Orchestra, followed by Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps. And then Brahms Variations on a theme by Haydn, and concluding with Stravinsky’s Histoire du Soldat. All recorded at Victoria Hall in Geneva on June 30, 1982 for Swiss Radio and TV.

Igor Markevitch was born in Kiev, Kiev Governorate, Ukraine to a family of Ukrainian Cossack starshyna who were ennobled in the 18th century. His great-grandfather Andrey Markevitch was a Secretary of State at the time of Alexander II of Russia, Actual Privy Councilor in St. Petersburg and co-founder of the Russian Musical Society. Igor was the son of pianist Boris Markevitch and Zoia Pokhitonova (daughter of painter Ivan Pokhitonov). The family moved to Paris in 1914 when he was two years old. They moved again to Switzerland in 1916 during World War I because of his father’s failing health (he later died of tuberculosis). Pianist Alfred Cortot, perhaps the greatest French pianist of his time, recognized the boy’s talent. He advised him at age 14 in 1926 to go to Paris for training in both composition and piano at the École Normale, where he studied piano under Cortot and composition under Nadia Boulanger.

Markevitch gained important recognition in 1929 when choreographer-impresario Serge Diaghilev discovered him and commissioned a piano concerto from him. In addition, Diaghilev invited him to collaborate on a ballet with Boris Kochno, a dancer and librettist. In a letter to the London Times, Diaghilev hailed Markevitch as the composer who would put an end to ‘a scandalous period of music … of cynical-sentimental simplicity’. The ballet project came to an end with Diaghilev’s death on 19 August 1929, but Markevitch’s compositions were accepted by the publisher Schott.

He settled in Italy, and during the Second World War was active in the partisan movement. He married and settled in Switzerland in 1947 following the war. He pursued his conducting career worldwide. He became permanent conductor of the Orchestre Lamoureux in Paris in the 1950s, conducted the Spanish RTVE Orchestra in 1965, the London Symphony Orchestra in 1966 and was also permanent conductor of the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 1970, after ignoring his own compositions for nearly 30 years, Igor Markevitch began to conduct his own music frequently, triggering its slow revival. His last concert was in Kiev, his birthplace. He died suddenly from a heart attack in Antibes on 7 March 1983, after a concert tour in Japan and Russia.

Pull up a chair and relax.

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