On Saturday, December 14, the first Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Award for Extraordinary Service to Chamber Music will be presented to pianist Menahem Pressler on the occasion of his 90th birthday. The presentation takes place in conjunction with a concert featuring Mr. Pressler and long-time colleagues The Emerson String Quartet, violinist Daniel Hope, cellist David Finckel, and pianist Wu Han.
CMS Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han commented:
We are proud to present this first award to the legendary pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio, Menahem Pressler, who led the trio for fifty-four years. His prize-winning discography, his dedicated teaching, and his performances worldwide place him in a leadership position among all those who serve the art of chamber music. On the eve of his 90th birthday, he continues to thrill audiences, inspire young musicians, and set a stellar example of what it means to truly be an artist.
About The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Award for Extraordinary Service to Chamber Music
Throughout its centuries-long history chamber music has been strengthened, broadened and propagated by individuals dedicated to the art form. Some of them have significantly changed the landscape of chamber music through their passionate commitment and exceptional vision. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center has created an award which recognizes the contributions of such individuals among us, celebrates their achievements, and expresses gratitude for their service. Recipients of the award are chosen by the Society’s artistic department and may be individuals from a wide variety of fields connected to chamber music. There is no set schedule for the awards.
The Master Pianist: Pressler at 90, December 14, 7:30 PM, Alice Tully Hall
The Chamber Music Society celebrates the 90th birthday and illustrious career of the great pianist, Menahem Pressler, Saturday, December 14, at 7:30 PM in Alice Tully Hall. Mr. Pressler will be joined on this momentous occasion by some of his closest musical colleagues, including pianist Wu Han, violinist Daniel Hope, cellist David Finckel, and the Emerson String Quartet (Eugene Drucker, Philip Setzer, violin; Lawrence Dutton, viola; Paul Watkins, cello). The program features Schubert’s Fantasie in F minor for Piano, Four Hands, D. 940, Op. 103; and Dvořàk’s Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 90, “Dumky,” and Piano Quintet in A major, B. 155, Op. 81. Mr. Pressler will be at the keyboard for all three works.
Additional celebrations of Menahem Pressler’s milestone birthday include a presentation featuring the same artists and program on December 13 at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana, where Mr. Pressler has taught for nearly 60 years. On December 15, he also performs with the Emerson String Quartet in Hamburg, Germany, and on December 18, 19, and 22, he appears with the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam.
One of the world's most acclaimed pianists, Menahem Pressler launched his world renowned career by winning the first prize in the Debussy International Competition in San Francisco in 1946, which was followed by his American debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Eugene Ormandy, and extensive performances with major orchestras in North America and Europe. In 1955, he founded the legendary Beaux Arts Trio, and enchanted audiences around the world for almost 60 years with the most revered performances of trio literature. In celebration of his 90th birthday which started in Paris at Salle Pleye, Mr. Pressler will be embarking on a grand tour that will take him throughout Europe, Russia, and the US performing with the world’s leading orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra under Valery Gergiev, and the Orchestre de Paris under Paavo Järvi where he is performing three consecutive seasons and is making a DVD of two Mozart concertos. Highlights of the summer of 2013 included collaborations with violinist Maxim Vengerov and pianist Yuja Wang at the Verbier Festival. Mr. Pressler has performed with world-renowned conductors such as Kurt Masur, Eugene Ormandy, Georg Solti, Paul Paray, Kent Nagano, and James Levine. In addition to over 50 recordings with the Beaux Arts Trio, he has compiled over 30 solo recordings, ranging from the works of Bach to Ben Haim. He has recorded virtually the entire chamber music literature with piano on the Philips Classics label. He released two recordings this fall—one on the BIS label and one by La Dolce Volta, which was chosen by Radio France as Record of the Year. For nearly 60 years, he has taught on the piano faculty at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, and holds the rank of Distinguished Professor. Mr. Pressler has been acknowledged with numerous awards of international merit, including the Menuhin Prize by the Queen of Spain in 2012. Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000, he has received England's Record of the Year Award, six Grammy nominations, Musical America's Ensemble of the Year in 1997 (with the Beaux Arts Trio), and has served as juror for the Van Cliburn and Queen Elisabeth competitions. He holds honorary doctorate degrees from Winston-Salem School of the Arts, the University of Nebraska, the San Francisco Conservatory, and the Manhattan School of Music.