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Horowitz, Vladimir (1903-1989)  
page: 1  2  

Throughout his life in the United States, Horowitz always had a personal valet. Some of these personal assistants lived at his home with Horowitz and his wife. Over time, albeit not without reservations, Wanda learned to tolerate and accept her husband's eccentricities, including his attraction toward men.

Horowitz is often credited with the famous "blasphemous" statement: "there are three kinds of pianists: gay pianists, Jewish pianists, and bad pianists".

The emotional stress connected with performing and the rigors of travel profoundly affected Horowitz. Nearly always suffering from health crises (either emotional or physical), Horowitz frequently withdrew from performing. He did not perform public concerts during the periods from 1936 to 1938, 1953 to 1965, 1969 to 1974, and 1983 to 1985.

Each of his comebacks from these self-imposed sabbaticals created euphoria among classical music lovers. His performances, characterized by matchless technique and extraordinary artistry, had the power to hypnotize audiences into a state of unprecedented enthusiasm.

Horowitz's legacy is preserved through his outstanding recording. He made several award-winning recordings for RCA Victor, Columbia Records, Deutsche Gramophon, and Sony Classical. He was a major exponent of music by composers relatively unknown in the United States at the time: Sergei Prokofiev, Karol Szymanowski, Alexander Scriabin, Dmitri Kabalevski, Domenico Scarlatti, Muzio Clementi, and the American Samuel Barber.

Horowitz also enjoyed teaching, though he would tell his students that he was merely giving them tips. The list of his piano students includes names of some of today's foremost pianists: Byron Janis, Gary Graffman, Ivan Davis, and Murray Perahia.

Perhaps Horowitz's most impressive return to the stage took place during the last years of his life. In 1986, at the age of 83, he played in the Soviet Union for the first time since 1925; the following year he performed in Japan, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, and Germany. His last public concert took place in June 1987 in Hamburg.

In 1986, Horowitz was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the United States.

Horowitz died from a heart attack on November 5, 1989. His devoted wife Wanda died in 1998.

Slawomir P. Dobrzanski

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Dubal, David. Evenings with Horowitz: A Personal Portrait. New York: Carol Publishing, 1994.

Johannson, Christian. The Vladimir Horowitz Website (2003):

Malraux, Alain. Vladimir Horowitz. Paris: Buchet-Chastel, 1994.

Plaskin, Glenn. Horowitz. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1983.

Schonberg, Harold C. Horowitz: His Life and Music. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992.


    Citation Information
    Author: Dobrzanski, Slawomir P.  
    Entry Title: Horowitz, Vladimir  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2008  
    Date Last Updated July 23, 2012  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2008 glbtq, Inc.  


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