One of the 20th century's greatest pianists. He was a Soviet loyalist in public, but privately, he had reservations about the regime.
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.
He married Fariset (Lala) Hutsistova in 1947. Their daughter, Elena, also became an acclaimed pianist.
He had a wildly acclaimed 1955 American debut in Philadelphia alongside Eugene Ormandy.