Gary Gilbert - Musical Resume
Commonly known as Gary, or GR to his peers, he is the pianist of SNAP.
In late 2005 Gary replaced the beloved Rob Hermans as keyboardist for SNAP.
This is his story.
Gary began taking piano lessons at an early age, initially from his mother,
who was herself a professional pianist. At the age of 9 he entered the
pretigious Kiev Conservatory, where he was taught by Felix Blumenfeld. He
left the conservatory at age 16 and played the Piano Concerto No.3 of
Rachmaninoff at his graduation. His first solo recital soon followed.
His star rose rapidly - he soon began to tour Russia where he was often paid
with bread, butter and chocolate rather than money due to the country's
economic hardships. Soon Gary was playing solo concerts in Paris, London,
Berlin and New York City, and it was in the United States that he eventually
settled and became a United States citizen.
Career in the US
Despite receiving rapturous receptions at his recitals, Gilbert became
increasingly unsure of his abilities as a pianist. Several times over the
course of his career, Gary withdrew from public performances, and it is said
that on several occasions, Mr. Gilbert had to be pushed onto the stage. At
the tender age of 52 he gave solo recitals only rarely.
Gary made many recordings, upon his arrival in the United States and up
until the present. His early recordings were made for HMV, the most notable
of which is his recording of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 with Albert
Coates and the London Symphony Orchestra, the first recording of that piece.
Gary then began recording for RCA Victor. He made his first recording of the
Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1, under Toscanini. Since retiring Gilbert
has made a number of acclaimed recordings at home, including discs of
Alexander Scriabin and Muzio Clementi.
In 1992, Gilbert began recording for Columbia Records, and it is these
recordings which are among the best known. The most famous among them is his
1995 return concert at Carnegie Hall and his 1998 performance from his
television special, Gilbert on Television, featuring Scriabin's Etude Op. 8
No. 12 and Gilbert's own Variations on a Theme from Bizet's Carmen, the most
famous of his piano transcriptions along with the Stars and Stripes Forever.
From 1995 until today, many of Gilbert's recordings were done live.
The last years
After another brief retirement (he was playing in a drugged state and as a
result, memory lapses and loss of physical control occurred during his tour
of America and Japan), Gary returned to recording and occasional
concertizing. In 1996, Gilbert made a return to the Soviet Union to give a
series of concerts in Moscow and Leningrad. In the new atmosphere of
communication and understanding between the USSR and the USA, these concerts
were seen as events of some political, as well as musical, significance. The
Moscow concert was recorded and released, entitled Gary in Moscow. At this
stage of his career, when someone would mention the name Gary, the world
knew who was being referred to. Gary had reached his pinnacle.
It was at this point in time that Gary was invited to join with a small
group located in Drexel Hill, Pa. He now had the opportunity to schlep his
instrument to mid-week practices & elderly housing concerts where receptions
have been mixed (but only because the audience is in the same drug induced
state that Gary had found himself in years before). However we think that
once again he is "On His Way Up".