Tatyana Nikolayeva, 69, Dead; Pianist and Shostakovich Expert
By JAMES R. OESTREICH
Published: November 24, 1993
The cause was a cerebral aneurism, said Jacques Leiser, her American manager. Miss Nikolayeva suffered a cerebral hemorrhage during a recital on Nov. 13 at the San Francisco Music Center. Stricken again soon afterward, she lost consciousness permanently. She was being treated at the California-Pacific Medical Center when she died.
Miss Nikolayeva was born on May 4, 1924, in Bezhitz, near Bryansk. She began piano study at the age of 5 with her mother. Her principal teacher was the renowned Aleksandr Goldenweiser, at the Moscow Conservatory, where she subsequently taught. Shared With Shostakovich
In 1950, she gained international recognition by winning a piano competition at the Leipzig Bach Festival. She impressed the jury, which included the composer Dmitri Shostakovich, by offering to play not merely the Bach prelude and fugue required, but any of the 48 preludes and fugues of Bach’s „Well-Tempered Clavier,“ from memory.
Shostakovich was so taken with her performances that on his return to Moscow he wrote his own set of 24 Preludes and Fugues (Op. 87), sharing each of the pieces with her as it was finished. She gave the work’s premiere, in 1952 in Leningrad, and developed a close friendship with the composer. Having also studied composition at the Moscow Conservatory, she herself became a composer as well as a performer.
„As time passes,“ Miss Nikolayeva wrote a few years ago of her Leipzig award, „I feel more and more that I received then another, not so concrete but no less important, prize: the creative and personal friendship of Dmitri Shostakovich; a friendship which lasted more than 25 years, to the day of his death.“
Miss Nikolayeva began to appear regularly in the West only late in life. She made her American debut in 1992, with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. She gave her New York debut recitals on Oct. 30 and Nov. 3 this year, playing the Shostakovich preludes and fugues at the 92d Street Y. She went on to play Bach and Shostakovich in Philadelphia, and she was playing the complete set of preludes and fugues again in San Francisco when she was stricken.
She recorded the Shostakovich preludes and fugues three times, twice for Melodiya and most recently for Hyperion. She also recorded many keyboard works of Bach for Melodiya and other labels.
She is survived by a son, Kirill, who lives in Moscow.