Vladimir Ashkenazy was born in Gorky in 1937. A student of Anaida Sumbatian and Lev Oborin, Ashkenazy captured major competition prizes in Warsaw, Brussels and Moscow, leading to debut concerts in the major music centers. He left the USSR in 1963, moving first to London, later to Iceland and Switzerland. Ashkenazy has continued his non-stop concert and recording activity, embracing virtually the entire standard piano repertoire. More recently, he embarked on a parallel career as a conductor, appearing with most of the world's leading orchestras. He has also played a good deal of chamber music with such colleagues as violinist Itzhak Perlman and cellist Lynn Harrell, as well as accompanying various singers in vocal literature.