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Igor Lasko (Piano)

Born: 1949 - St. Petersburg (Leningrad), Russia (former USSR)

The Russian pianist, Igor Lasko [Lazko] is descended from a family renowned for its musicians through several generations. His prodigious talent was apparent as a young boy, and when he was 6 years old he was admitted to the special school for young musicians in the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, where his professors were Pavel Serebryakov and Lekhovitskaya. He was profoundly affected by the example of Glenn Gould's playing during his tour in the Soviet Union in 1957, and from this and from Gould's recordings he drew a wealth of inspiration: the pianist describes this in a published article.

At a very young age Igor Lasko displayed exceptional gifts and in 1964, when only 14, he became the youngest laureate in the history of the J.S. Bach International Music Competition in Leipzig, receiving from them the Bronze Medal. Soon afterwards (in 1965) he recorded the Two- and Three-Part Inventions (BWV 772-786, BWV 787-801) for the Russian Melodiya record label, the disc which was to mark the start of his career as a concert performer.

His hard work and his exceptional talent opened for Igor Lasko the very finest teaching that Russia had to offer. He perfected himself at the higher Tchaikowsky Conservatory in Moscow in the class of Jakov Zak, successor of the master Heinrich Neuhaus, and took the First Prize in all his paths of study. Following graduation he was invited by the renowned Russian conductor, Yuri Temirkanov, to perform as piano soloist with the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra. From 1974 to 1977 he pursued a career as soloist and chamber musician in the Soviet Union.

From 1978 to 1992 Igor Lasko was professor at the University faculty of Belgrade. In this period he recorded the six Partitas (BWV 825-830) and the Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) by J.S. Bach, as well as works of Tchaikovsky and of other composers. The concert which he dedicated to the memory of the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould was proclaimed 'the best interpretation of the 1982-1983 season' in Belgrade. Intensively engaged in the musical life of the country, his Belgrade Festival recital of 1987 consisted entirely of Serbian composers, while his 1989 recital was a Russian programme of Moussorgsky, Tchaikovsky (The Seasons Op. 37, which he also recorded in Belgrade) and Sergei Rachmaninov. His 1987 recital with violinist Čergomir Mišković also combined J.S. Bach, Mozart and Tchaikowsky. After winning the 1981 Contemporary Music Congress at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, his career also began to develop further in France.

Igor Lazko has given innumerable tours in France, Russia, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Yugoslavia, Italy, Greece, Canada and the USA, performing with the worlds great orchestras and as a guest of numerous festivals such as Summer Days in Dubrovnik, The Evenings of Music in Sombor, The Days of Mokranjac in Negotin, Memorial Days in Kragujevac, and the days of Music in Herceg Novi (where he also served as artistic director) and in Nanterre, France at the International Music Festival, the celebration of the European Year of Music ('Music Like Bach', 1985) where he performed almost the entire J.S.Bach piano repertoire.

Igor Lasko has worked with such orchestral directors as Yuri Temirkanov, Mariss Jansons, Vladislav Chernushenko and Valery Gergiev, with the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, National Chamber Orchestra of Canada, and with many European ensembles. He is also pianist of the Trio Mendelssohn, with violinist Alexandre Stajic and cellist Dorel Fodoreanu.

Based in Paris since 1992, Igor Lasko is Professor of Piano at the famous Schola Cantorum, Professor of Piano at the Ecole Nationale de Musique in Fresnes, and in particular at the Russian Conservatory Alexandre Scriabin in Paris. He also gives very numerous demonstrations and master-classes across the whole of Europe (Italy, Switzerland, Germany, etc.) and in the USA. He is President Director of the Nikolai Rubinstein International Piano Concours (which he founded in 1996) and is the Founder and President of the International Concours of the Conservatoire Russe Alexandre Scriabine (2001), in Paris. He is closely involved with the Jūrmala (Latvia) International Academic Music Competition for pianists, which reached its 11th Season in 2010. In addition he maintains a full schedule as an international concertist throughout Europe, Russia and North America.

“…The evening reached its climax with the interpretation of Igor Lazko, winner of the highly esteemed Bach Competition in Leipzig. The audience rewarded Lazko’s amazing interpreting with ovations!..” Andrea Bombache, Bolzano
“…Continuing the tradition of the great Russian school of pianism, Lazko presented an amazing technique, using it to express an intelligent virtuosity…” La Nuova, Venice
“…More than superior interpretation of the encore, Lazko gave us a mirror full of shades, a mirror which reveals the slightest finesses….” Pierre Schaeffer, Paris
“…His interpretation of The Partita has no equal!...” Ghislane Guertin, Paris
“…When most musicians let themselves “repose” by playing simple pieces, Lazko chose to present - admirably - Mendelssohn’s sensuous Variations….” M. Grigorovic, Pravda
“…a pianist we would like to hear again: …the impression we had from the very first pages of the “Goldberg Variations” proved our opinion - here is a great musician and an authentic interpreter….” La Presse, Montreal
“Igor Lazko is a pure artist and an authentic pianist. He is also an outstanding chamber-musician. He possesses to the very highest degree that art of 'speaking' through the piano which is the mark of the greatest interpreters. He has the resources of an infallible technique (perhaps owing to his regular practice of the work of J.S. Bach). The refined lyricism of his playing and his symphonic projection of sound, allied to the spiritual power of his discourse give a great authenticity to his interpretations, 'a feast of sound of a very great beauty: with him the music becomes again what it was at its origin, limpid, simple and pure.'” A.M.M.

Source: Wikipedia Website (July 2010); Forest Hill Musical Days Website (2007)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (July 2010)

Igor Lasko: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Igor Lazko (Wikipedia)

Jūrmala International Piano Competition 2007: Jury
Igor Lazko, Piano (Forest Hill Musical Days) [2007]

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