On 25 March 1925, Shostakovich premiered 4 of his compositions in Moscow.

This concert, in large part through the people he met afterwards, changed the course of his life.

In what seemed at the time to be a shared pursuit of careers in piano playing and composing, the effect of this concert led him in one decisive direction.

The first Chopin Competition in 1927 consisted of 26 pianists from 8 countries.

The USSR sent 4 outstanding young pianists – Yuri Bryushkov, Grigory Ginzburg, Lev Oborin and Dmitri Shostakovich.

All four had an impact on Russian piano history, and one expanded the expressive possibilities of classical music entirely.

It was a remarkable time for what's now become a much looked forward to competition.

In 1942 Vladimir Sofronitsky was airlifted out of besieged Leningrad.

He lived and played the remainder of the year in Moscow, where his friend and colleague Dmitri Shostakovich was able to hear him in concert again.

In September of that year, Shostakovich wrote a review of Sofronitsky's recitals in Moscow. You can read my translation here.

A mastermind at the piano, Leonid Nikolayev trained and developed several generations of pianists – many of whom will live as long as a desire for piano music remains.

Today we look back at one particular recital on 11 March 1927 which included several geniuses like Vladimir Sofronitsky, Maria Yudina and Dmitri Shostakovich – all of whom came to be known around the world.

I've written this article in memory of Dmitri Bashkirov who passed away on 7 March 2021.

His influence on the development of contemporary piano culture could hardly be overstated.

Indeed he was the nexus of that culture.