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Musical World

Murray Perahia

  • Conductor
  • Pianist


Born in New York, Murray Perahia started playing piano at the age of four, and later attended Mannes College where he majored in conducting and composition. His summers were spent at the Marlboro Festival, where he collaborated with such musicians as Rudolf Serkin, Pablo Casals, and the members of the Budapest String Quartet. He also studied at the time with Mieczyslaw Horszowski. In subsequent years, he developed a close friendship with Vladimir Horowitz, whose perspective and personality were an abiding inspiration. In 1972 Mr. Perahia won the Leeds International Piano Competition, and in 1973 he gave his first concert at the Aldeburgh Festival, where he worked closely with Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears, accompanying the latter in many lieder recitals. Mr. Perahia was co-artistic director of the Festival from 1981 to 1989.

During the 2009-10 season, Mr. Perahia performs recitals across North America, including in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and at New York's Carnegie Hall. In Europe, he tours with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, performing in London, Paris, Berlin, and Prague, and appears with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich under the baton of Bernard Haitink. Mr. Perahia's 2008-09 season included a European tour and Chicago performances as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Bernard Haitink; a recital tour of Asia, including concerts in Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Singapore and Seoul; and recitals across the United States and Europe, including at New York's Avery Fisher Hall and in Paris, Madrid, Copenhagen and London. In the summer of 2009, Mr. Perahia performed Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Israel Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta.

Having completed a tour of North America with a debut recital in Mexico in the 2012-13 season, Mr. Perahia will embark on a recital tour of Japan followed by his historically first appearances in Australia where he will perform at the Sydney Opera House and in Melbourne in November 2013.

Mr. Perahia has a wide and varied discography. In September 2009, Sony Classical released his recording of Bach's Partitas Nos. 1, 5, and 6. Some of his previous solo recordings feature Beethoven's Piano Sonatas, opp 14, 26, and 28, and Bach's Partitas 2, 3, and 4. He is the recipient of two Grammy awards, for his recordings of Frederic Chopin's complete Etudes, Op. 10 and Op. 25 and Bach's English Suites Nos. 1, 3, and 6, and numerous Grammy nominations. Mr. Perahia has also won several Gramophone Awards. In 1998 Sony Classical released a four-disc set commemorating 25 years of his recordings issued under this label.

Recently, Mr. Perahia embarked on an ambitious project to edit the complete Beethoven Sonatas for the Henle Urtext Edition. He also produced and edited numerous hours of recordings of recently discovered master classes by the legendary pianist, Alfred Cortot, which resulted in the highly acclaimed Sony CD release, "Alfred Cortot: The Master Classes."

Mr. Perahia is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music, and he holds honorary doctorates from Leeds University and Duke University. In 2004, he was awarded an honorary KBE by Her Majesty The Queen, in recognition of his outstanding service to music.