Moussia 2: Alexander Borovsky


Alexander Borovsky (Mitau, Latvia 18.3.1889 – Waban, Mass., USA, 27.4.1968) is Natasha Borovsky’s father. She has written a beautiful poem in his memory, published in the French part of this blog.

He was a famous concert pianist and teacher. Child prodigy under the guidance of his mother, he joined the St. Petersburg Conservatory at a young age and was only 26 when he started to give master classes in Moscow. He also graduated in law, from St. Petersburg University. He left Russia in 1921.

During his first three seasons in France he gave scores of concerts and recitals with great success. After his début at Carnegie Hall in 1923, he toured Russia, Europe and South America during the nineteen twenties and thirties. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he emigrated to the United States, where he continued to perform and teach.

Alexander Borovsky and Sergey Prokofiev had attended the Conservatory together and were friends. In those days, Alexander would visit the apartment of Prokofiev’s mother, where he heard various compositions by Sergey for the first time, notably Visions Fugitives. Throughout his career, particularly in the twenties and thirties, he championed Prokofiev’s music, some of which – according to the latter – he played better than the master himself. Prokofiev always remained grateful for the support of his friend. Although he never achieved the worldwide acclaim he deserved, Borovsky was a superb pianist. Efforts are being made in the United States to issue some of his published and unpublished recordings on CD.

Borovsky met the mother of Natasha, Maria Viktorovna Sila-Nowicki in Paris in 1922. They were married and Natasha was born in 1924. After spending the 1929 season in Berlin and then taking up residence there in 1930, their marriage did not last.

In the following chapters,  I wil tell you more about Alexander Borovsky, in the context of the lives of Natasha Borovsky and her mother Maria.

The Russian inscription on the above photo says: ‘For my dear Pavel from his loving Shurik Borovsky’. Shurik is a diminutive for Alexander.  Pavel (Paul), who became a general in the Soviet army, was the husband of Masha, a sister of Alexander. It was Masha who gave the photo to Natasha after the Second World War.

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