Emil Grigoryevich Gilels (last name sometimes transliterated as "Hilels"; Ukrainian: Емі́ль Григо́рович Гі́лельс, Ukrainian pronunciation: [ɛˈmʲilʲ ɦrʲiˈɡɔroʋʲɪtʃ ˈɦilʲɛlʲs], Russian: Эми́ль Григо́рьевич Ги́лельс, Emiľ Grigoriević Gileľs; October 19, 1916 – October 14, 1985) was a Soviet pianist.
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- Of the Russian pianists I like only one, Richter. Gilels did some things well, but I did not like his mannerisms, the way he moved around while he was playing.
- He [Gilels] played in an easy, natural manner, with strong but unassuming musicianship. His technique was brilliant; years later Neuhaus, still astonished, was to recall Gilels's incredible octaves in Liszt's Spanish Rhapsody. Yet Gilels was never looked upon as a mere virtuoso. As a matter of fact, his programs did not often include music pour epater le bourgeois. He played a stedy diet of Beethoven (the Hammerklavier was a work that strongly engaged his last years), Schubert, Schumann, Chopin and Brahms. In many respects, the great virtuoso who put his authoritative stamp on whatever he played was, at the same time, a thinking man's pianist.
- Harold C. Schonberg, The Great Pianists