Brailowsky, Alexander (Classical Pianist)

SKU: PH283


Alexander Brailowsky (16 February 1896 – 25 April 1976) was a Ukrainian French pianist who specialized in the works of Frédéric Chopin. He was a leading concert pianist in the years between the two World Wars. Inscribed Photograph Signed, 11/08/1927 - 8 1/2 x 11 B/W - written in blk ink from a USA tour in San Francisco; photo sitting with P. Apers, Paris Studio.  Light age-toning seen along edging and  minor edge tears seen.  Overal, fine condition. 

Brailowsky was born in Kiev, Ukraine. As a boy, he studied piano with his father, an accomplished amateur pianist. When he was 8, he studied in Kiev with Vladimir Puchalsky, a pupil of Theodor Leschetizky. At the age of 18, he attended Kiev Conservatory, graduating with a gold medal in 1911.

He studied with Leschetizky in Vienna until 1914, then with Ferruccio Busoni in Zürich, and finally with Francis Planté in Paris. He became a French citizen in 1926. 

Brailowsky programmed all 160 piano pieces by Frédéric Chopin for playing in a series of six concerts. In 1924, he gave a recital in Paris of the complete cycle of the works of Chopin, the first in history, using the composer's own piano for part of the recital. He then went on to present a further thirty cycles of Chopin's music in Paris, Brussels, Zurich, Mexico City, Buenos Aires and Montevideo. A highly successful world tour followed. Brailowsky’s American debut was at Aeolian Hall in New York City in 1924. 

He toured the United States in 1936. During a series of nineteen recitals in Buenos Aires, he never repeated a single work. 

During World War II, he gave recitals for the USO. In 1960, he played the Chopin cycle again in Paris, and in Brussels in honor of the 150th anniversary of Chopin’s birth. 

Brailowsky's first recordings were produced in Berlin from 1928 to 1934 and released on 78 rpm discs.

In 1938, he recorded in London for HMV. Later discs were produced for RCA Victor and, in the 1960s, for CBS. Besides his huge output of Chopin, his repertoire also included Rachmaninoff, Saint-Saëns, Liszt, Debussy and others. 

Brailowsky died in New York City at the age of 80 from complications brought on by pneumonia. 

Brailowsky said that the technique used to play Chopin's music should be "fluent, fluid, delicate, airy, and capable of great variety of color."