Bella Davidovich Collection
Bella Davidovich was born in Baku, Azerbaijan (at that time, the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic) on July 16, 1928. She began playing the piano by ear when she was three years old and began formal piano lessons when she was six. Her early concerts in Baku up until she was thirteen included performances of Concertos by Beethoven, Schumann and Grieg. She was sent to Moscow to study with Konstantin Igumnov, but her studies were interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. She resumed her studies with Igumnov in 1946 and continued with him until his death in 1948. She received additional coaching from Yakov Flier.
At the age of twenty one, Davidovich’s international career was launched when she won the 1949 Chopin Competition in Warsaw (sharing first place with Halina Czerny-Stefanska). The following year she performed with the Leningrad Philharmonic and toured extensively with that orchestra over the next twenty eight seasons. During that time she played as many as seventy concerts a year in the Soviet Union, in addition to concerts in Eastern Europe. In 1950 she married the acclaimed Soviet violinist Yulian Sitkovetsky, who died in 1958 at the age of 32. Their son, Dmitry Sitkovetsky (born 1954) is a world renowned violinist and conductor.
Davidovich was among the most highly regarded artists in the Soviet Union, but government restrictions prohibited her from performing in the West until 1967, when she gave concerts in Amsterdam. In 1978, she abandoned her engagements in Europe and applied to emigrate to the United States to be with her son, who had emigrated the previous year to study at the Juilliard School. Though she was not widely known in the West, she quickly established herself among the greatest of pianists beginning with her 1979 Carnegie Hall debut.
Davidovich’s repertoire is wide-ranging, with a particular emphasis on the Romantics. She has built a considerable reputation as a Chopin specialist. She has been soloist with the leading orchestras of the United States and throughout the world, and has performed frequently with her son, Dmitry Sitkovetsky. She has held teaching posts at the Moscow Conservatory and the Juilliard School and served on the juries of several international piano competitions, including the Chopin, Leeds and Queen Elisabeth competitions. Her many recordings have appeared on the Melodiya, Philips, Delos and Orfeo labels.
I. Concert Programs (1965-2008)
II. Articles and Reviews
III. Biographical / Promotional Files
IV. Photographs and Scrapbook Materials
VII. Awards and Memorabilia