Concert pianist who suffered heart failure during a concerto performance, has died

12 May 2022, 10:38

Alexander Toradze had been performing with the Vancouver Symphony when he suffered heart failure
Alexander Toradze had been performing with the Vancouver Symphony when he suffered heart failure. Picture: Getty

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

Last month, Georgian-American pianist Alexander Toradze suffered a heart failure while performing two concertos with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, USA.

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Alexander Toradze, a solo classical concert pianist who was best known for his Russian repertoire, has died in hospital aged 69.

On 23 April, the Georgian-American pianist performed two concertos with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, USA, both during the first half of a concert.

During the second of the two concertos, he experienced acute heart failure while performing, but Toradze kept on playing, unaware of the medical danger.

The musician was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center the following day, where doctors told him what had happened on stage, and he was kept in hospital for observation, before being released.

Toradze died just over two weeks later on 10 May at his home in South Bend, Indiana. He had been due to perform Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Illinois Philharmonic this coming Saturday.

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The Georgian-American pianist was just a few days off his 70th birthday.

Born in the former Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1952, Toradze trained at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow.

Five years after graduating, Toradze was on tour with the Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra in 1983, and when the group came to Spain, he defected, requesting asylum at the American Embassy in Madrid.

After this, the musician made his home in the United States, becoming the professor of piano at Indiana University South Bend, and continued playing with multiple major orchestras across America as a soloist.

Tributes from former students and conductors across America have come pouring in on social media, calling the pianist a “great man”, a “mentor”, and a “legend”.