Stravinsky, Igor. (1882–1971) & Stravinsky, Vera. (1888–1982) [Siloti, Alexander [Ziloti, Aleksandr Il'yich]. (1863–1945)]
Autograph Condolences Letter on the Death of Alexander Siloti
Autograph Letter Signed from the composer and Vera Stravinsky to Kyriena Siloti (1895–1989), pianist and teacher, on the death of her father, the celebrated Russian pianist, composer, conductor, and teacher Alexander Siloti. Ink on pale blue paper. Folding creases; otherwise in very fine condition. 20.5 x 25 cm. With the original transmissal envelope in the hand of the composer, postmarked California, December 14, 1945.
Translated from the Russian: "Kyriena, darling, I am so saddened by the grave news of the demise of dear Alexander Iliych. Although one might be expecting this tragic event, especially after his pneumonia in his considerable age, still the very fact, the death itself is so hard, I think, to accept. I am sending you my profound compassion. You know, from the very beginning I was in sincere sympathy with him and with everything connected with his dear to us name. Hugging you, darling, Yours I. Stravinsky." [and in the hand of Vera Stravinsky:] My dear Kyriena, I am embracing you with love, which I’ll feel for you forever. I am feeling with you in your grief with all my soul. Vera Stravinsky"
One of the most celebrated pianists/pedagogues of the late 19th century, Siloti was a student of Nikolay Rubinstein, Taneyev and Tschaikovsky in Moscow before moving to Weimar to study with Liszt. He returned to teach at the Moscow Conservatory in 1887, where among his students, was his cousin - Sergei Rachmaninoff. He toured frequently, gave important premieres of works by Debussy, Elgar, Glazunov, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov, Scriabin, Sibelius and Stravinsky and was Tchaikovsky's trusted editor, especially for the first and second piano concertos. From 1901–1903, he led the Moscow Philharmonic; from 1903–1917, he organized, financed, and conducted the influential Siloti Concerts in St Petersburg, and indeed it was there that Ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev first heard Stravinsky's music, launching what would of course become one of the most important collaborations in musical history. Later, Siloti settled in New York, where he taught, among others, Marc Blitzstein and Eugene Istomin.