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Emil Grigoryevich Gilels (Эмиль Гилельс; October 19, 1916 – October 14, 1985) was a Soviet pianist. Gilels was born in Odessa to a musical family; both his parents were musicians. He began studying the piano at six under Yakov Tkach, making his first public debut at the age of 12 in June 1929. In 1930 Gilels entered the Odessa Conservatory where he was coached by Berta Reingbald, whom Gilels credited as his first formative influence.