Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Alexei Gorokhov

Alexei Gorokhov (Aleksey Nikolaevich Gorokhov) was a Russian (Ukrainian) violinist and teacher born on February 11, 1927 (Heifetz was 26 years old.)  He is remembered (if at all) for keeping a very low profile and staying out of (Russian) politics, somewhat as did Leonid Kogan and Boris Goldstein before him.  Among those violinists who chose to stay in Russia, he was easily overshadowed by Kogan (1924-1982), David Oistrakh (1908-1974), Vladimir Spivakov, and Eduard Grach.  Gorokhov was the first Russian violinist (and the second in the world – after Salvatore Accardo) to record all six of Paganini’s concertos.  As a child and teenager, he studied at the Central Music School (1934-1944.)  At the Moscow Conservatory he studied with Lev Tzeytlin (aka Lev Zeitlin – pupil of Leopold Auer) and graduated in 1949.  Between 1949 and 1951 he entered several violin competitions but never received anything higher than a second prize.  He further studied with Abram Yampolsky, completing that study in 1955.  Besides being a concert violinist, he was also a musicologist.  He consistently toured Russia and Europe.  He moved to Ukraine in 1956 and in 1957, at age 30, he accepted a position as violin professor at the Kiev Conservatory (Ukraine – the music school from which pianist Vladimir Horowitz graduated) where he remained for 42 years, in fact, until the day he died.  The Kiev Conservatory is now known as the Tchaikovsky National Academy of Music of Ukraine.  Gorokhov left a great number of live (radio) recordings produced through Ukrainian Radio equivalent to about 50 or 60 CDs, including the Bach solo violin Partitas, Paganini’s 24 Caprices, and the concertos of Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, and Tchaikovsky.  An early studio recording of Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnol from 1952 (with the USSR State Symphony Orchestra and Kyrill Kondrashin) is not currently available, as far as I know.  He was named Honored Artist Worker of Ukraine but, even then, remained rather obscure.  When he was 70 years old, he performed all of Paganini’s concertos in the space of three days, using the original orchestrations he composed.  His initial recording of these concertos (1973, with the Ukrainian National Opera Theatre Orchestra) was reissued in 2006 – Gorokhov uses his own cadenzas and he is billed as the conductor (though the conductor part may not be accurate.)  You may see it for yourself here.  An inexpensive recording of the six is available with what is said to be the Chamber Orchestra of the Shevchenko Opera Theater under the baton of Zakhary Kozharsky – I do not know if it is one and the same recording (it most likely is) but you can listen to this entire set of six here (Napster site.)  Gorokhov died on February 3, 1999, at (almost) age 72. 


  1. It has been said that Gorokhov produced an easily identifiable and recognizable (unique) sound - like Heifetz, Gitlis, Milstein, and others. I have not found that to be the case though you might find otherwise.

  2. Seems that Gorokhov was especially fond of Paganini's works. I think it's also fair to say that he loved playing violin! Though not achieving great fame as a performer, he must have been a fine teacher with his many years of experience.