About me

my name is Boris Giltburg and I am a classical pianist. I was born in Russia but grew up and live in Israel, where I moved with my family at the age of five. I started playing just before leaving Moscow, badgering my mum to teach me until she finally relented (she felt we had enough pianists in the family as it was – both my grandma and great-grandma were pianists and piano teachers too). And, well, I’ve been playing ever since.

classical music is one of my biggest passions and I wanted to give people who are not so much acquainted with it the opportunity and the tools to listen to various works with a classical musician’s ears; my plan was to write detailed listening guides, showing as many aspects of the works as possible, with the hope that understanding the inner workings of a piece may make it less daunting and complex and thus, more accessible. And the big hope, of course, is to share this extraordinary world of classical music, which I love dearly ( = I’m a totally hardcore fan), with as many other people as possible.

you can find me on Facebook (for concert dates, video clips, broadcast links, an odd photo or two and such), and also on my management’s website (for a more professional take on the events).

55 thoughts on “About me

  1. Dear Boris,

    It is great that you have opened this blog. Now I know you are not only a spectacular pianist, but also a translator and a very accurate writer.

    Thanks a lot !

    • Thanks, Dashet, glad you liked it!
      Regarding a translation to Russian – that’s no insolence at all :). I’d love to, in theory, but that’s quite a massive time investment, so I’ll have to see whether that’s feasible (at the moment, I’m trying to find enough time to simply keep posting, as it is).

  2. Boris, you are great pianist, and I want to say that your way to play beethoven is fantastic … and this blog is very interesting … for many time I studied beethoven’s life and I feel in your interpretation of his work the ludwing’s essence … well now I will wait for your concert in chile (next november) I want to hear the Op 57 in Fm from your hands.
    Good Luck in every concert
    many blesses


  3. Hi Boris! It was a pleasure to listen to you in Brussels, during the queen elisabeth competition. I’m very curious to discover your concerto during the final.
    Lot of sucess! Lago.

  4. What a wonderful performance you gave during the Elizabeth concours, very tasteful and an amazing technic!

  5. Hi Boris, congratulations for your wonderful performance in the final of the Queen Elisabeth competition. Thank you so much for sharing music with the audience in such a beautiful way. You are very talented ! I like reading your blog, it’s very interesting and I hope you’ll have some time to keep posting on it. I wish you all the best for the future and a lot of happiness with music.

  6. Boris, I am so glad and happy for you that you won last night! I have to say that I was moved to tears by your performance of Rachmaninoff 3.

    Hope to see and hear you in Holland, at the Concertgebouw.

    Thank you for the great music you bring us!

    Caroline Thate.

  7. Dear Boris, wanted to congratulate you for your winning session in Brussels/Belgium, for the Intenational Queen Elisabeth competition. Your Racmaninov concerto was fantastic ! Keep making us dream with your magic hands ! (and magic brain, obviously).
    Jacky from Belgium

  8. Hi Boris,
    i have seen you in the halve finale. i immediately voted for you and sent emails to some friends with your picture that i took from TV, and told them “hey guys this is the person that will win the contest”. i only play a little piano but my feeling for music is much better than my play so i felt you were out of comparisation. so i just want to congratulate you. you look like a good person, on top of your piano skills. God bless you.
    i live in a castle in Belgium. if you ever come to the country again, feel free to come and have a glas champagne or coffee, it would be such an honour. but with your current success you too many people will ask…
    have a great life Boris and thanks for your wonderful performances!

  9. Dear Boris,
    Thank you very much for this blog! It is very helpful, especially when discovering pieces like the Prokofiev sonata or the Ravel concerto.
    And also of course a very big congratulation for your 1st prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition. Being a Belgian (and a very big classical music fan/piano student), I followed the competition closely, and in particular your performance of Rachmaninoff 3 and the Liszt Sonata were really moving. It was a great pleasure to listen to you, on stage as well as off stage in your interviews. You seem a sincere and pleasant guy, who plays with heart, which makes the difference in your playing:)

    I’m really looking forword to your concert in Hasselt next thursday, and I’m curious which concerto you are going to play there:)

    Best wishes,

  10. Hello Boris!

    First I’d like to congratulate you for winning the Queen Elisabeth competiton, you were
    truly astonishing! If I could play the Rachmaninov concerto no.3 like you do, I would be over the moon, really. Thank you for your music, you are a great inspiration to me !

    I live in France (I’m 15) and I am looking forward to hearing you in concert. When will you be playing in Paris or other places in France ?

    Thank you again,

  11. Dear Boris. I recently listened to your performance of Ravel’s La Valse on youtube, and it was one of the best musical experience I have had in my life. I once aspired to become a classical pianist and although now I’m practising at amateur level, my passion for classical music is relentless, and I’ve attended many recitals, concerts, and festivals, not to mention that I collect CDs by famous virtuosos. I dare say your interpretation of La Valse was unparalleled, the best I have listened to by more than thirty different famous pianists. It is absolutely fantastic and I really hope that I can hear more of your performances online and offline. I love how you pay attention to every small detail of each piece and bring it alive. Your music really speaks to me, in a way that nobody else does than Krystian Zimerman.
    Thank you very much for giving me great musical inspiration. Hope the pieces that you are currently working at are going as marvellously as well!

    • Plus, humanity needs more albums from you… I went to Amazon and I could only buy like, two. (Romantic Sonatas and War Sonatas) I downloaded Bach-Busoni Chaconne and it was flawless and exquisite. Any plans on recording Ravel’s La Valse as well? 🙂

    • Thanks very much for the warm words, Daniel! Really glad you liked it. No plans to record La Valse at the moment, but there will be a new CD coming out in winter 14 / 15 – Schumann solo works.

  12. I was bored in my house and after i open youtube and i would like listen some different i saw your video start and Rachmaninov C n. 3 it’s absolute super. Your energy and musicale is great. Thanks for give more curios about your works i spend 2 hours watching. Congra from Dublin

  13. Dear Boris, I was in the concert in Koblenz on 25th September. It was GREAT!! Could you please tell me the name of the two encores (Zugaben)? I was asked by several friends, because no one could definitively recognize them. Many thanks, Yvonne

    • Thanks very much, Yvonne! Really glad you liked it. The encores were 1) Brahms Intermezzo Op. 118 No. 2; 2) Prokofiev Suggestion Diabolique Op. 4 No. 4 (Teufliche Verflüsterung in German).

  14. Hello Boris, I just “discovered” you via a Naxos email, and have been relishing your Beethoven recording all this morning. A little Googling turned up this rich blog with such skilled writing and fresh observations. Now I have years of posts to go through — my reading assignment for the month! You have a new fan.


  15. Hi Boris,
    I’m very glad I will be able to attend your future concert in Hasselt in one week. I always try to be there when you are playing in my provence, and up till now I have succeeded quite well, it will be the 4th time I will watch you live, and it has always been a nice experience 🙂 (especially when you played the 2nd Prokofiev concerto in Hasselt in 2013 afther the QEC!!)

    I wanted to ask, soon I will have a sort of audition/competition to play a concerto which, if you are selected, you will be able to play with an orchestra. It will be the first time I enter in such an audition (I will play the Allegro Molto of Kabalevsky’s 3rd piano concerto) and I was wondering if you have any good advice for living up to such a performance? What can I do to prevent cold/sweaty hands, in other words, to keep calm and enjoy ;-)?


    • Hi Vincent, nerves are part of it, I’m afraid, especially at competitions. The best you can do is to try to be so well prepared, that you can control your playing even under stress. Do many run-ins in advance, at home, for your family, maybe even invite some friends and play for them. Or, if you can do it at a concerthall with an audience, even better. Also,record yourself and listen to the recording – that will be helpful for the interpretation too, not just for nerves.
      Good luck! Hope it goes very well.

      • Hello Boris,
        The audition was yesterday and … I’m selected! 🙂 I’m very happy, it’s a great piece to play, so now I will get the once in a lifetime chance to play it with orchestra 🙂
        I felt very much ok with the nerves before the audition. I had written your comparison with surfing on a little piece of paper which I could check beforehand, it was very useful!
        Thanks again for the good advice and the great concert in Hasselt!
        See you next time in Belgium!

      • Brilliant! Very glad to hear it went so successfully. 🙂 Playing with orchestra (as opposed to competitions!) is a lot of fun, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
        Best of luck and success in the meantime,

  16. Hi boris

    What did you play as your encore in this evening’s concert in edinburgh. Your playing was wonderful tonight. Many congratulations.


  17. hi boris,

    hello, how are you?

    i went to your concert in osaka japan in 2015. ( i am the one who brought a bouquet of flowers. it was for you and brahms.)

    it was a wonderful performance.

    i am wondering if you are planning to come back this year.

    maybe rachmaninov? that would be great.

    i love your performance so i look forward to it.

    thank you.

  18. Dear Boris,

    I’m a pianist and until recently I’ve been studying under Leslie Howard in London. I’m now doing my Konzertexam at the Mendelssohn Hochschule in Leipzig. You are one of my absolute favorite pianists. I’m doing Rach Op. 23 at the moment and your interpretation is the best according to me.

    I know you’re packed with concert dates but it would be an absolute pleasure to play for you the next time you’re in Germany, or anywhere in Europe with a spare day or two, so I can come meet you.

    It would be a dream come true and I hope to hear from you soon.

    Neville Z Bharucha

  19. Hi Boris,

    I attended your Carnegie recital last week and was so inspired by your arrangement of Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8, that I started thinking how wonderful it would be to learn to play the piece for myself. The string quartet has been my favorite piece of music for 45 years, and I never even considered that I might one day actually play it on the piano.

    So I’m writing to you in hopes that you can help me acquire your piano score, if this is possible.

    Take care,
    Anthony Michaelis

    • Hi Anthony,
      Many thanks for the kind words. I would have loved to help with the score, but at the moment, I’m not allowed to print it or send it to others. I’m in discussion with the publisher to change this, so hopefully the score might be available in the future. Hope you understand.
      All the best,

  20. Dear Boris,
    My name is Vincent and I’m from Belgium. Maybe you remember me, we spoke shortly a couple of times after your concerts in our provence Limburg. Last year you gave me a wonderful help to deal with stress going towards an audition I was going to do to get the chance to play a piano concerto with an orchestra (which ended greatly).
    On Tuesday afternoon, I got the news that my piano teacher for 7 years had passed away to a sudden heart failure that night. She was 54. A picture of you with her and her dear friend and colleague taken after your performance in Maasmechelen in april 2014 hung in her piano class.
    The evening I heard the news, I sat in the dark with the curtains wide open, and listened to your performance of the Andante caloroso of the 7th Prokofiev sonata. She was a big Prokofiev fan.

    Thank you for this act of consolation.


    • Dear Vincent,
      I’ve just now seen your comment – my deep condolences on your loss… It’s very hard to say something that wouldn’t sound trite, but music is a great healer (no less than time), and I would like to wish that 2017 brings much good music to you.
      Warm regards,

      • Thank you Boris,

        In my opinion, sincere words can never be trite.

        I would like to wish you the same. That we may enjoy playing and hearing beautiful music until the end of our days.

        Hopefully until a next concert in Limburg sometime.


  21. Really enjoyed your reading of La Vals, a wondrous yet disturbing work by perhaps the most enigmatic of all composers. I do think the reading adds insight, by way of translating the colour and gravitas. Ravel, always so contrite, if not coy, would admit to just the colour… But, a composer who could write this, and then Gaspard, well … Joyce said that, ultimately, the artist recedes behind his work, quietly paring his nails. In the case of La Vals, and Gaspard, one is left absolutely mesmerized. Thank you, and it has enthused me to listen for your artistry, too. Mark Nicol.

  22. Hello!

    I’m a young aspiring physicist, and I play the piano and cello as often as possible, as I am a music fanatic! I love your Davidsbundlertanze and Prokofiev Sonata 8 (as well as everything else…you bring incredible energy and clarity to some of my favorites). I could go on about how you are one of my favorite concert pianists, but I’m sure you get the whole “biggest-fan” spiel enough. Anyways, I have two questions:

    1) Will I ever get the chance to see you live in Los Angeles, California??

    2) I’ve been trying to get a start with jazz piano, and was wondering if you enjoy playing jazz/if you have any advice for me! So far I have bought a Real Book and have been paging through practicing my sight-reading harmonization.

    By the way, I really appreciate your 5 minute music library videos, I think they are the perfect way to make music accessible in short engaging snippets to a broader audience.

    Thanks for bringing beautiful music to the world.

    • Hi David!
      Thanks for writing and for the very kind words. I don’t have anything planned in Los Angeles for this season, but I’ll be playing Rachmaninov 2 with the Pacific SO in May – https://www.pacificsymphony.org/tickets/concert/rach2
      As for jazz, I very much love listening, but unfortunately can’t play myself, apart from some Gershwin 🙂 but wishing you much luck and success with it – it’s wonderful music.
      Best regards,

  23. Hi Boris,

    Vincent from Belgium once again. When I came across the flyer that you were giving a master class in Flagey end of February, I didn’t hesitate to book my ticket, now that I see it’s sold out, I’m relieved I didn’t hesitate indeed!

    It would be my pleasure to hear you dig musically into the several pieces that will pass by, and learn from any tips and original viewpoints you will put forward.
    Is it already known which pieces will be played? Then I can bring the sheets to follow and take notes.

    Ps: In November I gave my first solo performance (it was a combination of intimate piano solo music with my favorite poetry, intertwining with the previous, centered around the theme of Autumn), it was wonderful to do! I still take advantage of your metaphor of the waves/surfing, and I wasn’t nervous at all!

    So thanks again.


    • Hi Vincent,

      I’m afraid I only saw your message now, way too late! I hope you are doing fine.
      If you’d like, check out my new website – borisgiltburg.com
      I’ve transferred the whole blog there and will be shutting down this page in the next weeks

      All the best,

      • Hi Boris,

        No problem, I suspected something like that.
        Great new website by the way, I really like what you’re doing with the videos, good to reach new people and make them curious for the wonderful art of classical music.
        Hope to see you again in the future.
        Kind regards,

  24. My client saw you in NY and absolutly loves you. Now I do. You are amazing thank you for sharing your passion with the world

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