Vladimir Samoylovich Horowitz (Russian: Владимир Самойлович Горовиц, Vladimir Samojlovich Gorovitz; Ukrainian: Володимир Самійлович Горовiць, Volodymyr Samiylovych Horovitz) (October 1, 1903 – November 5, 1989) was a Russian-American classical virtuoso pianist and minor composer. His technique and use of tone color and the excitement of his playing were and remain legendary. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.
Vladimir Horowitz was born in Kiev in the Russian Empire (now the capital of Ukraine) into the assimilated Jewish family of Samuil Horowitz and Sophia Bodik, the youngest of four children. Samuil Horowitz was a well-to-do electrical engineer and the distributor of electric motors for several German manufacturers. Horowitz's grandfather Joachim was a merchant (and an arts-supporter), belonging to the 1st Guild. This status gave exemption from having to reside in the Pale of Settlement. Horowitz was born in 1903, but in order to make him appear too young for military service so as not to risk damaging his hands, his father took a year off his son's age by claiming he was born in 1904. The 1904 date appeared in many reference works during the pianist's lifetime.
Horowitz received piano instruction from an early age, initially from his mother, who was herself a pianist. In 1912 he entered the Kiev Conservatory, where he was taught by Vladimir Puchalsky, Sergei Tarnowsky, and Felix Blumenfeld. He performed Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor at his graduation in 1919. His first solo recital was performed in Kharkiv in 1920.