Skip to navigation

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

Support YIVO
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research » Support Yivo » Heritage Dinner » 12th Annual Heritage Gala

12th Annual Heritage Gala


May 7, 2013
I had a Kissin experience that I will never forget…
He was at YIVO, that gem of a Jewish institution…

—Marty Peretz, This One’s a Kippah: New York’s Idiosyncratic Jewish Renewal, New York Observer, May 14, 2013


On Tuesday, May 7, 2013, an audience of over 200 gathered at YIVO to honor renowned Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin, who performed on the piano and recited Yiddish poetry.

Evgeny Kissin (b. 1971, Moscow) began to play by ear and improvise on the piano at the age of two. At six years old he entered the Moscow Gnessin School of Music for Gifted Children, where he was a student of Anna Pavlovna Kantor. At the age of ten, he made his concerto debut playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto K. 466 and gave his first solo recital in Moscow one year later. He is now in demand the world over and has appeared with many of today’s great conductors, including Abbado, Ashkenazy, Barenboim, Dohnanyi, Giulini, Levine, Maazel, Muti and Ozawa, as well as all of the world’s great orchestras.

Mr. Kissin has received numerous musical awards throughout his career, including the Crystal Prize of the Osaka Symphony Hall for the Best Performance of the Year (1986, following his first performance in Japan), the Triumph Award for his outstanding contribution to Russian culture (1997), and two Grammy Awards for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without orchestra) (2006, 2009).

At YIVO on May 7, he performed M. Milner’s “Farn Opsheyd” (Before Separating).

Mr. Kissin’s love for Yiddish poetry is perhaps less well-known. A frequent visitor to YIVO’s renowned library, Mr. Kissin has mastered a great repertoire, and at the evening program, he recited by heart several of his beloved Yiddish favorites, as well as his own poem, “Bobe-loshn” (Grandmother Tongue). He also spoke of his passion for Yiddish and his Jewish heritage.

Opening remarks were delivered by Professor Elie Wiesel, YIVO Executive Director Jonathan Brent, and YIVO Board of Trustees member Elisa New.

The event, YIVO’s 12th Annual Heritage Gala, was co-chaired by Leonard Blavatnik and Lawrence Summers.

See more pictures of the event on Facebook.

Read the article in the Forward.
Read the article in the Yiddish Forverts.