biography

Lev Vlassenko's world-wide career was launched by his brilliant performances at the international competitions (Liszt, Budapest, 1956, First Prize and Tchaikovsky, Moscow, 1958, Second Prize). The pianist would recall with satisfaction and pride that at these competitions he was heard by most outstanding musicians: György Cziffra, Monique de la Bruchollerie, Jan Ekier, Annie Fischer, Alexander Goldenweiser, Ilona Kabos, Moura Lympany, Pierre Sancan and Carlo Zecchi (Budapest); Heinrich Neuhaus, Lev Oborin, Emil Gilels, Sviatoslav Richter, Dmitry Kabalevsky, Pancho Vladigerov (Moscow).

Lev Vlassenko was born in 1928 in Tbilisi. His father came from a noble family, his grandfather was an artillery general of zarist army by family tradition, was wounded during World War I and in 1917 disappeared leaving no trace. Lev's father, Nikolay Apollonovich, had a good ear for music and a fine deep bass. he sang in the church choir of a cadet military school where he was brought up. Nikolay Apollonovich was a buoyant person, a man of the world, he charmed women by his civil, gallant manners.

Lev's mother was born in the family of a poor Jewish musician. The Benditsky family is mentioned in the books by Sholom Aleichem. Lev's grandfather Solomon Benditsky learned to play trombone by himself and appeared playing at weddings, funerals and religious festivals. His enormous thirst for knowledge and striving for perfection brought him to mastering the instrument. Solomon began to play in provincial Ukrainian orchestras and later was invited to perform in the orchestra of the Opera Theatre in Tbilisi, Georgia, where he got the right for residence and worked till his old age. For his favourite grandson Liovik the Opera Theatre was a second home.

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