Pikayzen was a former student of David Oistrakh and a laureate of numerous international competitions

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Victor Pikayzen died on 8 July 2023, aged 90. Born in Kyiv on 15 February 1933 Pikayzen began playing the violin at the age of four with his father, who was a violinist in the Kyiv Opera. He went on to study at the Kyiv Conservatory with Joseph Gutman.

During the Second World War, he lived in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan, eventually relocating to Moscow to study at the Gnessin State Musical College with violinist David Oistrakh. Pikayzen continued his studies with Oistrakh at the Moscow Conservatory, graduating in 1957 and completing postgraduate studies in 1960. He became a soloist with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra that year.

Pikayzen was a laureate of many international violin competitions, including second prize at the Jan Kubelík Competition in 1949, fifth at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 1955, second at the Long-Thibaud-Crespin Competition in 1957, and second at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958. In 1965, he won first prize at the ‘Premio Paganini’ in Genoa.

His performing career spanned five continents, playing a range of repertoire including works dedicated to him by Aram Khachaturian and Boris Tchaikovsky. He was considered an expert interpreter of Ysaÿe, Bach and Paganini, having played the 24 Caprices in concert 78 times in his life.

Pikayzen recorded the complete sonatas of Beethoven, Brahms and Bach, with his daughter, Tatyana Pikayzen, as well as most of the standard violin repertoire.

He enjoyed a long career as a teacher following his competition success. In 1966, he joined the faculty at the Moscow Conservatory, where he remained until 1986, and returned in 2006. He also taught at the Moscow State Institute of Music and the Central Music School, as well as the Hacettepe University Ankara State Conservatory from 1993, and held guest professorships in Japan and Taiwan.

Pikayzen received the People’s Artist of the Russian Federation award, the Honored Artist of the Russian Federation award and honorary doctorates from multiple international universities.

Watch Pikayzen and Igor Oistrakh perform Wieniawski’s Etudes-Caprices for 2 Violins op.18:

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