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Alexander Siloti Collection

 Collection 0026-IPAM
Alexander Siloti (a.k.a. Ziloti) (1863-1945) was a pianist, conductor, and music teacher. He was a pupil of Liszt and taught many important Russian musicians, including Rachmaninoff. He performed in Europe and the United States, as well as conducting orchestras in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In addition, Siloti taught piano lessons at the Moscow Conservatory, was a member of the faculty at the Juilliard School, and was known for his transcriptions, arrangements, and editions of various pieces. This collection contains 12.00 linear feet of scores, programs, publicity brochures, correspondence, clippings, books, and notebooks related to Siloti’s career, the orchestras he played with, and his relationships with his close colleagues, including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Franz Liszt, and his daughter, Kyriena Siloti.

Dates

  • 1859-1983
  • Majority of material found within 1914-1930

Use and Access to Collection

There are no restricted files in this collection.

Extent

12.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Alexander Siloti Collection covers the period from 1859 to 1983; the bulk of the materials date from 1914 to 1930, and the collection is 12.00 linear feet. The collection consists of scores, programs, publicity brochures, correspondence, clippings, books, and notebooks related to Siloti’s career, including his performances in New York, Boston, London, and St. Petersburg, and his transcriptions of various scores.

Biography

Summary: Alexander Ilyich Siloti (Ziloti) was born near Kharkov in the Ukraine on October 9, 1863 and died in New York City December 8, 1945. He studied composition with Tchaikovsky at the Moscow Conservatory and was a pupil of Franz Liszt at Weimar (1883-1886). He returned to the Moscow Conservatory to teach (1887), where he taught his younger cousin, Sergei Rachmaninoff. Siloti also pursued a career as concert pianist (1891-1901) in Frankfurt am Main, Antwerp, and Leipzig, and in the United States (1898-1899).

Siloti began a conducting career by accepting the directorship of the Moscow Philharmonic (1901). He also founded his own orchestra in St. Petersburg, where he introduced much new music, such as works by French impressionists (1903). He continued with his orchestra for 15 years, becoming Manager of the St. Petersburg State Opera (1917). After immigrating to the United States (1922), he became a member of the faculty at the Juilliard School (1924-1942), where he stayed until his retirement.

Siloti made major contributions to music literature through his transcriptions, arrangements, and editions of many pieces, particularly his concert transcription of the B minor Prelude from Bach's Clavier-Buechlein and his important revisions to the first and second piano concertos of Tchaikovsky.

Full History: Alexander Ilyich Siloti (Ziloti), one of the few pianists to carry into the 20th century the "grand manner" of pianistic interpretations typified by the Liszt-Rubinstein schools, was born near Kharkov in the Ukraine on October 9, 1863 and died in New York City December 8, 1945. At the Moscow Conservatory he studied piano with Zverev and Nicholas Rubinstein (and for a brief time with Nicholas's brother Anton), and composition with Tchaikovsky. He was a pupil of Franz Liszt at Weimar from 1883 to 1886 and became the master's devoted disciple. Returning to the Moscow Conservatory in 1887 he taught (among others) his younger cousin, Sergei Rachmaninoff. Between 1891 and 1901 he lived in Frankfurt am Main, Antwerp, and Leipzig, pursuing a career as concert pianist. He played in the United States in 1898 and 1899.

Siloti began a conducting career in 1901 by accepting the directorship of the Moscow Philharmonic. In 1903 he founded his own orchestra in St. Petersburg with which he introduced much new music, including works of the French impressionists and Elgar. He also championed the music of Liszt and the younger Russian composers (including Gnessin, Glazunov, Stravinsky, Scriabin, Prokofiev, and, of course, Rachmaninoff), As a conductor he offered performance opportunities to young artists such as Pablo Casals, Wanda Landowska, Fritz Kreisler, and Rosina Lhevinne. He continued with his orchestra for 15 years, becoming Manager of the St. Petersburg State Opera in 1917.

He escaped Bolshevik Russia in 1920 and lived in Finland, France, and England before immigrating to the United States in 1922. From 1924 until his retirement in 1942 he was a prominent and highly respected member of the faculty at the Juilliard School.

Siloti made major contributions to music literature through his transcriptions, arrangements, and editions of the music of Liszt, Bach, Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky, Arensky, and others. Perhaps his most famous publication was his concert transcription of the B minor Prelude from Bach's Clavier-Buechlein, dedicated to his daughter Kyriena. It was played by many of the great pianists, especially the Russians, and has been recorded by Emil Gilels. He also made important revisions to the first and second piano concertos of Tchaikovsky, with the composer's consent.

As a teacher, Siloti influenced such diverse artists as Constantine Igumnov (teacher of Vladimir Ashkenazy and Bella Davidovich), Bernhard Stavenhagen (another Liszt pupil), Alexei Haieff, Marc Blitzstein, and, of course, Rachmaninoff.

Alexander Siloti was dedicatee of Rachmaninoff's first Piano Concerto and his ten Preludes op. 23 and Stravinsky's Scherzo (1908).`

Arrangement

This collection is arranged into five series.
  1. Series 1: Music Scores
  2. Series 2: Siloti Concert Programs, Publicity Brochures
  3. Series 3: Correspondence
  4. Series 4: Miscellaneous
  5. Series 5: Books, Notebooks

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Donated in 1990; donator unknown.

Related Material

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.
Title
Alexander Siloti Collection
Status
Completed
Author
This finding aid was prepared by John J. Church in August 1993. The materials description was done by Neil Ratliff.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English
Sponsor
Donated in 1990; donator unknown.

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park MD 20742 United States