Zak, Iakov Izrailevich
Born Nov. 7 (20), 1913, in Odessa. Soviet pianist and teacher. People’s Artist of the USSR (1966). Became a member of the CPSU in 1943.
Zak studied at the Odessa Conservatory from 1930 to 1932. Upon completion of graduate study under G. G. Neigauz at the Moscow Conservatory in 1935, Zak began a career as a concert pianist. He has toured frequently in both Europe and America. He began teaching at the Moscow Conservatory in 1935, becoming a professor there in 1947. Several of Zak’s pupils, including N. A. Petrov, G. G. Mirvis, A. K. Cherkasov, and L. B. Timofeeva, have won international competitions. Zak’s performance is noted for its virtuosity, refined lyricism, and profound interpretation. He received third prize at the All-Union Chopin Piano Competition in 1935 and first prize at the International Chopin Piano Competition held in Warsaw in 1937. Zak has been awarded three orders and various medals.