Menahem Pressler

~ Person


Menahem Pressler (born 16 December 1923, Magdeburg) is a German-born Israeli-American pianist.

Following Kristallnacht, Pressler and his immediate family fled Nazi Germany in 1939, initially to Italy, and then to Palestine. His grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins all died in concentration camps. His career was launched after he won first prize at the Debussy International Piano Competition in San Francisco in 1946. His Carnegie Hall debut subsequently followed, with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy.

Since 1955, Pressler has taught on the piano faculty at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he holds the rank of Distinguished Professor of Music as the Charles Webb Chair. His debut as a chamber musician was at the 1955 Berkshire Festival, where he appeared as the pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio, with Daniel Guilet, violin, and Bernard Greenhouse, cello. Although he was a junior partner in the Beaux Arts Trio at the outset, Pressler ultimately became the only original member of the trio to perform with the group through its entire existence, including several changes of membership, up to the dissolution of the trio in 2008. In 2010, he played at the Rheingau Musik Festival with Antonio Meneses, the last cellist of the Beaux Arts Trio, and appeared before in the series Rendezvous.

Pressler returned to Germany in 2008 on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht. In January 2014, aged 90, he made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.His performance with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle at their 2014 New Year's Eve Concert was televised live all over the world.

The Beaux Arts Trio made an extensive series of recordings for Philips. In addition, Pressler has recorded solo piano music commercially on the La Dolce Volta label. Already at the beginning of the 1950s he had recorded a substantial quantity of solo piano music and for piano and orchestra of various composers for the US label MGM.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1994 Piano Quintet, Op. 81 / Piano Quartet, Op. 87 Dvořák; Emerson String Quartet, Menahem Pressler 1
1995 Piano Quintet Op. 44 / Piano Quartet Op. 47 Schumann; Emerson String Quartet, Menahem Pressler 1
2013 Mozart / Beethoven / Schubert Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert; Menahem Pressler 1

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