The Ukrainian pianist and conductor, Boris Bloch, was born to parents of Jewish Ukrainian descent. He started piano lessons at the age of 6, continuing to study with E. Levinsohn at the Odessa Stoliarsky School. In September 1968 he entered the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory, at first in the class of Tatiana Nikolayeva and in 1970 that of the world-renowned pianist and pedagogue Dmitri Bashkirov, among other notable teachers. In 1969 Bloch was a prize-winner at the International Schumann Competition at Zwickau and in 1972 he won the 2nd Prize at the 4th National Piano Competition of the USSR held in Minsk. He graduated from the Moscow Conservatory as a prized student in 1973 and left the Soviet Union for New York City in 1974. In 1976 he won the Young Concert Artists International Audition in New York City and that same year he gave his New York debut. The New York Times in its review the next day compared Bloch to the revered Simon Barere. The Los Angeles Times, following Bloch's debut there in 1979, compared him to Vladimir Horowitz. Bloch met Vladimir Horowitz at the great pianist's town house in Manhattan in 1977. The legendary' Maestro's words upon listening to Bloch's play the G Minor Sonata of Schumann, the Spanish Rhapsody of Franz Liszt and the works of Chopin and Sergei Rachmaninov were: "You are blessed with great pianistic gifts and that is most important!" Also in 1977 Bloch met the other pianistic legend of the 20th century, Arthur Rubinstein, as Maestro himself awarded Bloch with the Silver Medal Prize at the Arthur Rubinstein Piano Masters Competition in Jerusalem. Later that same year, he went on to win that same year the prestigious Busoni International Piano Competition, in Bolzano, Italy.
Boris Bloch has long been regarded as one of the most important interpreters of classical and romantic piano music. He has built up a large and ever expanding repertoire extending from Scarlatti and J.S. Bach, the Viennese Classicists, Chopin and Franz Liszt and covering the German and Russian Romantics to the most important composers of the 20th century including Prokofiev and Arnold Schoenberg. Bloch’s detailed knowledge of the piano literature of the last three centuries, his familiarity with the entire history of music and its protagonists along with his stupendous pianism and above all things his strong artistic personality form the basis for the much vaunted depth of expression, the abundance of color, the amazing stylistic originality and the incomparable “singing tone” of his playing, manifesting themselves equally in his carefully composed recitals. He launched a career that has taken him to many orchestral engagements, recital series and festivals in different countries and continents.
Boris Bloch has appeared as a soloist, with such orchestras as the Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Denver Symphony Orchestra, New Orleans Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Symphony Orchestra, etc. In Europe, Bloch played all three Tchaikovsky Concertos with the Staatskapelle Berlin and all five S. Rachmaninov concertos with the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra. He has been the soloist with the orchestras of Vienna and Berlin, Moscow and St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Junge Deutsche Philharmonic and NDR Symphony of Hannover, Great Polish Radio Orchestra and Philharmonic Orchestra of Bergen, Rome’s Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI of Milan and Maggio Musicale Orchestra of Florence, National Philharmonic Orchestras of Budapest and Sofia, Zürcher Kammerorchester, The Arturo Toscanini Orchestra of Emilia Romagna and many others. Among the conductors Bloch has performed are Gerd Albrecht, Juri Aranovitch, Alexander Dmitriev, Hobart Earle, Philippe Entremont, Christoph Eschenbach, Janosz Ferencik, Adam Fischer, Mark Gorenstein, Hans Graf, Pavel Kogan, Kyrill Kondrashin, Alexander Lazarev, Lorin Maazel, Edmond de Stutz, Emil Tabakov, David Zinman, to name but a few.
The festivals Boris Bloch has participated include The Berliner Festwochen and Salzburger Festspiele, Luzern Festival and The Flanders Festival, the Festivals of Stresa, Istanbul, Carintischer Sommer of Austria, Varna Summer of Bulgaria, Chopin Festivals in Duszniki of Poland and Marienbad of Czechia, Macedonian Ochrid and BulgarianRousse, Schumann-Fest in Düsseldorf, Klavierfestival Ruhr, Piano Festival of Bergamot and Brescia, the Chamber Music Festival of Savonlina, I Grandi Interpreti of Bologna, and very special "Rarities of Piano Music" in Husum, "Outstanding Pupils of Dmitri Bashkirov" in St. Petersburg, etc.
While Boris Bloch has been busy as a conductor since the 1990’s, he has never abandoned the piano, generally keeping it the main focus of his career. His repertoire as a conductor has embraced much Russian opera, particularly Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, but inclusive of orchestral music by Mozart, S. Rachmaninov, and many others. As a conductor and (between 1993-1995) artistic director of the Opera House of Odessa, Bloch has taken that company to Italy (Tchaikovsky's Maid of Orleans at Teatro Carlo Felice of Geneva, L.v. Beethoven's Christus am Olberg at Perugia's Sacra Musicale Umbra Festival), to Bruxelles Palais de Beaux Arts, Piraeus of Greece, etc. In Germany Bloch has toured extensively with the Pushkin Opera of Russia with Mussorgsky's Boris Goudunov and Tchaikovsky's Mazeppa. Subsequently he led the Russian-based Pushkin Opera on tour throughout Germany. He has also conducted the State Orchestra of Tyrol (Austria) and all Mozart Programs with the Arturo Toscanini Orchestra of Emilia Romagna at the Mozart Festival of Salso-maggiore (Italy) and an all-S. Rachmaninov Programs including the Symphonic Dances with the State Orchestra of Tirol in Innsbruck, Austria.
During the 2009-2010 season Boris Bloch was invited to give four matinée piano recitals in the Alfried-Krupp Hall of the Philharmonie Essen. These four programs comprise works by Haydn (November 1, 2009), J.S. Bach, Felix Mendelssohn, Schumann (December 20, 2009), Chopin (February 14, 2010) and F. Liszt (March 28, 2010). In the summer and autumn of 2011 he was again invited to give piano recitals at the Chopin Festival in Marienbad, Czech Republic, as well as by the Chopin-Gesellschaft Taunus e.V. in Oberursel, Germany, and the Chopin-Gesellschaft in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland e.V. in Darmstadt, where he will also once again teach an international master-class. The F. Liszt year 2011 will see him performing at the most important F. Liszt centers throughout Eu: on October 19, 2011 in the Austrian town of Raiding, where F. Liszt was born 200 years ago on October 22, 2011 and which is today the venue of an important F. Liszt festival run by Eduard and Johannes Kutrowatz; on February 13, 2011 and November 10, 2011 as part of the festivities of the town of Bayreuth, where F. Liszt died in 1886; and on June 24, 2011 in Weimar, one of the most important places of influence of F. Liszt.
In 1985 Boris Bloch joined the faculty at the Folkwang Hochschule in Duisburg, Germany, where he has since taught piano. His teaching at the Folkwang University of Arts in Essen likewise enjoys great popularity and recognition. In 2007 he was awarded the music education prize of the Köhler-Osbar-Foundation and of the city of Duisburg, the seat of the piano department of Folkwang University since 2002. He has been often asked to be as a jury member at various international competitions, including Busoni, Clara Schumann in Düsseldorf, Liszt in Utrecht, Weimar and Parma, Viotti in Vercelli etc. In 2006 he served as artistic director of the (first) International Carl Bechstein Piano Competition in North Rhine-Westphalia. He has also conducted international master-classes including the Summer Academy Mozarteum in Salzburg, Weimarer Master Courses, Santander Summer School etc.
Boris Bloch's considerable discography is available from Danacord, Accord, Nuova Era, and other major labels.
In 1985 he made an acclaimed recording of the challenging Ferruccio Busoni’s Piano Concerto with Christoph Eschenbach for the Aperto label. Several of his pther recordings have acquired benchmark status, especially his recordings of Franz Liszt’s opera paraphrases on Accord label (1988), which were awarded the Grand Prix International du Disque Liszt by the Liszt Society of Budapest and the Diapason d’Or of Paris, the recording of Mussorgsky’s works for piano, which also received the Excellence Disque prize in Paris, or the live recordings of Mozart’s Coronation Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in its complete version (the two last-named recordings appearing also on DVD along with F. Liszt-F. Busoni’s Spanish Rhapsody).
In 1997, the Public Television of Russia had broadcast a half an hour film about Boris Bloch in the series "Outstanding Musicians of Russia". 1998 Bloch commemorated the 25th anniversary of his carrier in a comeback recital at the Concert Hall of his Alma Mater - Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. The Moscow Newspaper commented the next day in its review: "Russia must be sorry to have missed this true artist for so long."