Violinist. One of the finest Russian virtuosos of the Soviet period. Kogan's playing was notable for its aggressive modernity, which set him apart from his principal rival, David Oistrakh. He was equally at home in contemporary music and the classics, and was the first to perform Alban Berg's serialist Violin Concerto in the USSR. Leonid Borisovich Kogan was born in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, the son of a photographer and amateur fiddler. When he displayed precocious musical gifts as a child the family moved to Moscow so he could study violin. He graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1948 and began teaching there four years later, becoming head of the violin department in 1969. Kogan launched his international career with his victory at the 1951 Queen Elizabeth Violin Competition in Brussels, and thereafter frequently toured Europe and the United States. He also made dozens of recordings, famously of the Khachaturian Violin Concerto. In 1965 he was awarded the Order of Lenin. Kogan's death from an apparent heart attack, aboard a train heading from Russia to Austria, has inspired much sinister speculation. He was the father of noted conductor Pavel Kogan.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards
Yelizaveta Grigorievna Gilels