Alexander Siloti Collection
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 on 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
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
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. A large number of Siloti's transcriptions and editions
have recently been reprinted in a single volume published by Carl Fischer of New
As a teacher, Siloti influenced such diverse artists as Konstantin Igumnov,
Bernhard Stavenhagen (another Liszt pupil), Alexei Haieff, Marc Blitzstein and
Siloti was dedicatee of Rachmaninoff's first Piano Concerto and his ten
Preludes op. 23 and Stravinsky's Scherzo (1903).
SERIES I - MUSIC SCORES
Here are found music scores in the collection. These scores comprise the
majority of the collection and sometimes contain extensive editorial markings by
Siloti. Some of the scores also contain complete (or near-complete) sets of
orchestral parts. This series is divided into four subseries, and is located in
Siloti editions with markings [boxes] Siloti published editions without
markings (mostly) [boxes] Songs with editorial, markings or changes key A.S.
[boxes] Songs, editions owned by A.S. without markings [boxes]
SERIES II - PERFORMANCE FILES
Here are found 11 Siloti concert programs from 1898 to 1936. Some have
multiple copies. There is also a publicity brochure issued by Carl Fischer, Inc.
This series is located in box 19.
SERIES III - CORRESPONDENCE
Here are found 17 letters (mostly to Kyriena Siloti, in Russian, and from the
1950s); a letter from Richard Aldrich, and several. pages of notes in Russian.
This series is located in box 19.
SERIES IV - MISCELLANEOUS
Here are found clippings that are mostly about concerts. There are two
articles published in Musical America, and several unrelated, incomplete
documents. This series is located in box 1.9.
SERIES V - BOOKS/NOTEBOOKS
Here are found several books, Kyriena Siloti's Memoirs[?], Sophie Satin's
translation of the Rachmaninoff Collection in the National Museum, and two
notebooks of concerts of A.S., translated from Russian and edited 'by Maria
Siloti. This series is located in boxes 20 - 22.