When Russian composer, Dmitri Shostakovich visited Leipzig in 1950 to act as a cultural ambassador at a festival marking the bicentennial of the death of J.S. Bach, he was also invited to be one of the judges at the first International Bach Competition. One of the competitors was Tatiana Nikolayeva from Moscow. She played several of the Preludes and Fugues from Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier and earned the gold medal.
When Shostakovich returned home to Moscow, he began to compose his own set of 24 Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Op. 87. Upon completion, he dedicated the work to Nikolayeva and she gave the premiere of the piece in Leningrad in 1952.
Hear a 1987 recording by Tatiana Nikolayeva here.