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Byron Janis’ ‘Live from Leningrad, 1960,’ Historically Significant Never-Before-Heard Recording, Releases in February

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Raina Grossman
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646-879-5859

Bettina Klinger
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Byron Janis’ ‘Live from Leningrad, 1960,’ Historically Significant Never-Before-Heard Recording, Releases in February 

Recorded without Janis’ Knowledge, Mysteriously Delivered Vinyl, Captures
Cold War Performance at Request of JFK; Stirring Mozart, Chopin, Copland

New York, New York (February 12, 2018):  This month Byron Janis, internationally renowned pianist, will be unveiling Live from Leningrad, 1960, a recording made in secret and recently discovered of his historically significant performance in Russia during the height of the Cold War. Maestro Janis was unaware of its existence until his sound engineer Seth Winner, who received it by mail from an unnamed source, brought the vinyl to him.

Live from Leningrad, 1960 is comprised of 16 classical pieces from six composers, including Aaron Copland’s Piano Sonata composed in 1939, which reflects Copland’s fear of WW II, and ends with beautiful bells that “announce the hope for peace,” says JanisOther featured composers: Chopin, de Falla, Liszt, Mozart and Schumann.  Live from Leningrad is the second in a series of Janis’ previously unreleased recordings of live performances…He issued Byron Janis Live on Tour, Vol.1 this past Spring.

Hearing the album for the first time, Janis described a “…collapsing of 57 years. It brought back wonderful and emotional moments.  A few days earlier in Moscow, I had stepped out alone in front of a hostile and yelling audience but I calmly began to play.  At the end, I received a standing ovation, people had tears in their eyes, and I was so grateful. The feeling in Leningrad was not marred by politics.”

Maestro Janis performed in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, at the behest of President Kennedy, whose administration appointed Janis our country’s first Cultural Ambassador to Russia.  The Cultural Exchange was meant to soften the relationship between the two superpowers. The beginning of this Cultural Exchange was fraught by hostilities towards the USA due to Russia’s shooting down of a new USA U2 spy plane.

“Then and today, music helps us transcend the emotional and psychological challenges that tumultuous realities place on all people,” said Janis.

“I was at first dismayed that this concert recording had been made and sold in the USSR without my knowledge. But now, I am grateful a unique moment in musical history was captured,” added Janis.

The black, white and red cover of Live from Leningrad, 1960 is by artist Maria Cooper, Janis’ wife and the daughter of the late great Hollywood star Gary Cooper. The abstract work captures the turbulent aspects of both the Leningrad repertoire and its times.  The image is also a poster on the opposite side of the album’s liner notes.

As he approaches his 90th birthday this coming March, Janis is still creating music. Live from Leningrad, 1960, is the second of three CD and limited-edition vinyl pressings Janis is making public.  2017 marked the 70th anniversary of his first album release, which he celebrated by putting out Byron Janis Live on Tour, Vol.1, a collection of previously unissued live performances recorded between 1979 and 1999, as well as solo-piano arrangements of three original compositions. Volume II, to be released in 2018, will include other live unreleased performances and original compositions.

To learn more about Byron Janis, or to purchase his recent albums Live from Leningrad, 1960 or Bryon Janis Live on Tour, Vol. 1, please visit www.byronjanislive.com. More information on Maestro Janis is available at www.byronjanis.com.

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About Byron Janis:

Byron Janis is internationally renowned as one of the world’s greatest pianists. He made his orchestral debut at age 15 with Toscanini’s NBC Symphony Orchestra. The following year he was chosen by Vladimir Horowitz as his first student. At 18, he became the youngest artist ever signed to a contract by RCA Victor Records. Two years later, in 1948, he made his Carnegie Hall debut which was hailed as an unparalleled success. He has played with every major symphony orchestra in both the U.S and abroad.  His many recordings appear on the RCA, Mercury Phillips, Sony, Universal and EMI labels. byronjanis.com

For a list of upcoming events and tributes, press information or to schedule interviews, limited public appearances and engagements, please contact Raina Grossman, Principal, Wolf and Rain Communications, LLC (646) 879-5859 raina@wolfandrain.com, Bettina L. Klinger, Principal, Brand Varietals, INC (917-930-8654)  bklinger@brandvarietal.com.