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 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. A large number of Siloti's transcriptions and editions have recently been reprinted in a single volume published by Carl Fischer of New York.
As a teacher, Siloti influenced such diverse artists as Konstantin Igumnov, Bernhard Stavenhagen (another Liszt pupil), Alexei Haieff, Marc Blitzstein and Rachmaninoff.
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 boxes 1-18.
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.