Murray Perahia

Principal Guest Conductor of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields

Biography

In the more than 40 years he has performed on the concert stage, American pianist Murray Perahia has become one of the most sought-after and cherished pianists of our time, performing in all of the major international music centers and with every leading orchestra. He is the Principal Guest Conductor of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, with which he has toured as conductor and pianist throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and Southeast Asia.

Born in New York, Mr. 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. During this time, he also studied with Mieczysław Horszowski. In subsequent years, he developed a close friendship with Vladimir Horowitz, whose perspective and personality were an enduring 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.

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This coming season, Mr. Perahia will continue to tour Europe, conducting and playing the complete Beethoven concerti with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. He will also give solo recitals throughout Europe and tour Asia with performances in Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Saitama, Tokyo, and Mito. Following this, he will give a series of recitals across the United States, including in Athens, GA, Atlanta, Scottsdale and Ann Arbor, as well as performances at the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in Kalamazoo and the Eastman School of Music in Rochester.

Mr. Perahia has a wide and varied discography. In October 2016, he released a highly anticipated recording of Bach French Suites, his first album on the Deutsche Grammophon label. Sony Classical issued a special boxed set edition of all his recordings including several DVDs entitled The First 40 Years. The recording of the Brahms Handel Variations, which won the Gramophone Award in 2011, was described as “one of the most rewarding Brahms recitals currently available.” Some of his previous solo recordings feature a 5-CD boxed set of his Chopin recordings, Bach’s Partitas Nos. 1, 5, and 6 and Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, opp. 14, 26, and 28. He is the recipient of two Grammy Awards for his recordings of Chopin’s complete Etudes and Bach’s English Suites Nos. 1, 3, and 6, and several Gramophone Awards including the inaugural Piano Award in 2012.

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 Academy of Music, and he holds honorary doctorates from the Juilliard School, Oxford University, the Royal College of Music, 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.

 

Reviews

Murray Perahia’s delicate touch paired beautifully with the Academy of St Martin in the Field’s aerated tone, bringing wit and poise to an all-Beethoven chamber programme … This was a true collaboration – and music-making of the highest order.

Flora Willson

The Guardian

“Perahia’s extraordinary pianism is a sacrament of purification and a kind of return to an age of pianistic innocence.”

Los Angeles Times

“The qualities that make Perahia one of today’s leading artists of the keyboard lie in his ability to shine a penetrating and personal light on such music, in such a way that there is nothing at all “standard” about it. In other words, the commanding insights he brings to this repertory are more than enough to breathe freshness and distinction into works we’ve heard many times before, but seldom played at this inspired level.”

Chicago Tribune

More Reviews

“Perahia’s extraordinary pianism is a sacrament of purification and a kind of return to an age of pianistic innocence.”

Los Angeles Times

“The qualities that make Perahia one of today’s leading artists of the keyboard lie in his ability to shine a penetrating and personal light on such music, in such a way that there is nothing at all “standard” about it. In other words, the commanding insights he brings to this repertory are more than enough to breathe freshness and distinction into works we’ve heard many times before, but seldom played at this inspired level. ”

Chicago Tribune

“Murray Perahia displayed a breathtaking drive and imagination playing the music of Bach, Beethoven, Schumann and Chopin.”

Los Angeles Times

“Perahia, poet of the keyboard, comes back with thunder.”

Allan Kozinn, New York Times, March 27, 2007