1910 - 1920's

Ludmilla began her piano studies at the age of four in Moscow where she was born in 1910 -- exactly one hundred years after the birth of her idol, Frederick Chopin.

By the time she was seven, Ludmilla was recognized as a great piano prodigy and successfully auditions for the prestigious Kiev Conservatory, playing three piano pieces, one of which she actually recalls and plays here eighty-six years later!

At Kiev, Ludmilla was fortunate to study in the company of notable older schoolmates pianist Vladimir Horowitz and violinist Nathan Milstein. By the time Ludmilla was eight, she gave her first public concert in Kiev.

When the Bolshevik Revolution strikes in Russia, wealthy families are considered suspect. Ludmilla's father, a successful recording engineer, fears reprisal. In 1919 he flees to Poland, and Ludmilla and her mother follow five years later.

Musical gains made at the Kiev Conservatory are put aside until the impressionable young Ludmilla (now 14 years old) attends a moving performance at a piano recital which inspires her to make the most out of her talent. She then enters the Krakow Conservatory, graduating with the highest honors by her sixteenth birthday!

By this time Ludmilla had already played as piano soloist with nearly every major symphony in Poland and was accepted as the YOUNGEST contestant in the coveted First International Chopin Competition held in 1927. Competing against her is the Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich . As a prize, Ludmilla was awarded a fully paid scholarship to the Warsaw Conservatory by the Competition Judge, Joseph Turczinsky, who served as her Master Teacher, until her graduation, with the highest honors, before her eighteenth birthday.


Arts Council of Rockland

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Kiev Conservatory

1st Chopin Competition

Chopin Competition Roster


Concert - 1926

Concert - 1928

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©2010 Ludmilla Berkwic

Ludmilla's Berkwic's biographical data(1910-present) appearing on this Website was compiled and researched by Dr. Louis Alpert. The final text was written by Dr. Alpert in collaboration with musical writer and pianist, Mrs. Miriam Queensen. Digital media was created from scanned documents, old recordings, etc by Sarah Chauncey who designed this site.

Site Design by Sarah Chauncey for the The Hudson Valley Piano Club