Emil Gilels


Birthday October 19, 1916

Birth Sign Libra

Birthplace Russia

DEATH DATE Oct 14, 1985 (68)

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One of the 20th century's greatest pianists. He was a Soviet loyalist in public, but privately, he had reservations about the regime.

Before Fame

His technique was established early on by his first teacher, Yakov Tkach, who was strict about scales and practice.


He won the 1938 Ysaÿe International Festival in Brussels, the jury of which was headed by luminaries like Arthur Rubinstein and Arthur Bliss.

Family Life

He married Fariset (Lala) Hutsistova in 1947. Their daughter, Elena, also became an acclaimed pianist.

Associated With

He had a wildly acclaimed 1955 American debut in Philadelphia alongside Eugene Ormandy.