P1303. ANDRÉ TCHAIKOWSKY, w.Dimitri Chorafas Cond.: Piano Concerto #24 in c, K.491, Live Performance, 25 April, 1961, Theatre des Champs-Elysées; w.Sergiu Comissiona Cond.: Piano Concerto #20 in d, K.466, Live Performance, 8 Sept., 1971, Besançon (both Mozart; both Orchestre National de la RTF). Transfers by Yves St Laurent. [Another an undeniable 'find' from Yves St Laurent!] (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-801.
“[André Tchaikowsky ] Robert Andrzej Krauthammer was born in Warsaw in 1935. He had shown musical talent from an early age, and his mother, an amateur pianist, was teaching him the piano when he was four years old. His family was Jewish, thus when the Second World War broke out, they were moved into the Warsaw Ghetto. Krauthammer remained here until 1942, when he was smuggled out and provided with forged identity papers that renamed him Andrzej Czajkowski; he then went into hiding with his grandmother, Celina. The pair remained hidden until 1944, when they were caught up in the Warsaw Uprising, and they were then sent to Pruszków transit camp as ordinary Polish citizens, from which they were released in 1945. Tchaikowsky's father, Karl Krauthammer, also survived the war, and remarried, producing a daughter, Katherine Krauthammer-Vogt; Tchaikowsky's mother, Felicja Krauthammer (née Rappaport) was rounded up in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942, and died in Treblinka.
Andrzej Czajkowski, as he then was named (he later adopted the spelling André Tchaikowsky), resumed his lessons at age 9 in Lodz State School, under the tuition of Emma Altberg (herself once a student of Wanda Landowska); from here, he proceeded to Paris, where Lazare Lévy took over his education, and where he would also break off relations with his father for many years after an argument.
After his return to Poland (1950), he studied at the State Music Academy in Sopot, and later at the State Music Academy in Warszawa. Already during his studies he began developing his concert career, displaying his showmanship through public performances of Bach's Goldberg Variations, Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto #2 and providing listeners with improvisations on any given theme. From 1951, he took composition classes with Prof. Kazimierz Sikorski.
After his success at the fifth International Chopin Piano Competition, where he won the 8th award (1955), Tchaikowsky left to study in Brussels under Polish pianist Stefan Askenase. As a result of his co-operation with Askenase, Tchaikowsky took part in the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition, winning third prize (1956).
In 1957, he gave a series of recitals in Paris, performing all of Ravel's compositions for piano in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the French composer's death. During the same time, he consulted Nadia Boulanger at Fontainbleau in matters of composition, as well as establishing contact with Arthur Rubinstein.
Despite his success as a pianist, André Tchaikowsky’s greatest passion was composition. He wrote two Piano Concertos, a String Quartet, a setting of Shakespeare's Seven Sonnets for voice with piano, a Piano Trio and several compositions for piano solo. He completed an opera, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, based on Shakespeare's play. Most of the opera was written by 1978, and following discussions with the music critic Hans Keller, Tchaikowsky decided to submit it for consideration to English National Opera, then under the directorship of Lord Harewood. A playthrough of the first two acts was arranged in December 1981, with Harewood and the ENO artistic director David Pountney and conductor Mark Elder in attendance. But in March 1982 Tchaikowsky received a letter from Harewood turning the opera down. By this time Tchaikowsky was already seriously ill, and he died only three months later. His dying wish was that the opera be performed. The opera was not produced until 2013 at the Bregenz Festival.”
"I think André Tchaikowsky is one of the finest pianists of his generation -- he is even better than that -- he is a wonderful musician."
- Arthur Rubinstein
"I've known most of the really good and great musicians of my generation. He was the best musician of them all."
- Stephen Kovacevich