It’s the birthday of classical pianist Vladimir Horowitz, born in Ukraine (1904). When he was eight years old, he began studying music at the Kiev Conservatory. He got his big break in 1926 when he played Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with only a half-hour’s notice. He got a standing ovation and became an overnight success. When he had already established a secure reputation, the only major composer who had not opened up to him was Arturo Toscanini. After they met, Horowitz eventually won over Toscanini with his charm, and later married Toscanini’s daughter. In 1943, the two performed a concert in Carnegie Hall that raised over ten million dollars for World War II efforts.
Horowitz often had trouble with the English language. When he met Lou Henry Hoover, the wife of President Herbert Hoover, he said, “Madam, I am delightful.”
In 1986, he returned to his native Russia to give a series of concerts. It was his first return visit in sixty years.