Murray Perahia

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

Biography

In the more than 40 years he has been performing 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 whom 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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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