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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Architecture of Music (Vladimir Ashkenazy), 2011

Ralph Heimans

oil on canvas (frame: 177.0 cm x 252.8 cm depth 6.0 cm, support: 168.0 cm x 244.0 cm)

Vladimir Ashkenazy (b. 1937), pianist and conductor, was principal conductor and artistic adviser for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra from 2009 to 2013. Russian-born Ashkenazy started playing piano at age six and was accepted into the Central Music School of the Moscow Conservatory at eight. In 1955, in Warsaw, he won second prize in the International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition; the following year he won the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in Brussels and he was joint-winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1962. In 1963 he left Russia, settling in London with his Iceland-born wife. He became an Icelandic citizen in the late 1960s, and in 1970 helped found the Reykjavik Arts Festival. In the late 1970s he moved permanently to Switzerland. Between 1974 and 2000 he won six Grammys and recorded the complete works for piano by Rachmaninov, Chopin and Schubert, and each of Mozart’s piano concertos. His recordings as a conductor include orchestral works by Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, and complete cycles of the symphonies by Sibelius and Rachmaninov. During the past 30 years he has served as chief conductor and music director of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, and music director of the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo. In 2013 he released a 50-CD collection of his key recordings.

Ralph Heimans, who enjoys the challenge of painting complex interiors, pictured Ashkenazy in the Sydney Opera House.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Michael Crouch AC and Shanny Crouch 2017
© Ralph Heimans

Accession number: 2017.53

Currently on display: Gallery Six (Tim Fairfax Gallery)

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Artist and subject

Ralph Heimans (age 41 in 2011)

Vladimir Ashkenazy (age 74 in 2011)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Portrait of HRH Crown Princess Mary, 2006 by Ralph Heimans
Portrait of HRH Crown Princess Mary, 2006 by Ralph Heimans
Portrait of HRH Crown Princess Mary, 2006 by Ralph Heimans
Portrait of HRH Crown Princess Mary, 2006 by Ralph Heimans

Dane reign

Magazine article by Mette Skougaard and Thomas Lyngby, 2018

Mette Skougaard and Thomas Lyngby bring eloquent context to Ralph Heimans’ portraits of Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.

The Architecture of Music (Vladimir Ashkenazy), 2011 Ralph Heimans
The Architecture of Music (Vladimir Ashkenazy), 2011 Ralph Heimans
The Architecture of Music (Vladimir Ashkenazy), 2011 Ralph Heimans
The Architecture of Music (Vladimir Ashkenazy), 2011 Ralph Heimans

Observation point

Magazine article by Ralph Heimans, 2018

As I prepared for my recent retrospective at Frederiksborg Castle, Denmark’s National Portrait Gallery, I was struck with the feeling of looking back at a visual diary of the past 30 years.

The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2012
The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2012
The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2012
The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2012

Imagination

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

Dr Sarah Engledow tells the story of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee portrait by Australian artist Ralph Heimans.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.