In the more than 30 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 South East Asia.
Born in New York, 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 in Marlboro 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. Perahia was co-artistic director of the festival from 1981 to 1989.
Perahia’s 2008–09 season began with a European tour as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Bernard Haitink. He then embarked on a recital tour of Asia, traveling to Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Singapore and Seoul. Perahia and Haitink reunited in Chicago in November for three concerts with the Chicago Symphony featuring Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4. In March 2009, he performed recitals across the United States, including New York’s Avery Fisher Hall. Perahia’s European performance schedule included recitals in Paris, Madrid, Copenhagen and London.
He has a wide and varied discography. Two of his 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. 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.
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 masterclasses by the legendary pianist, Alfred Cortot, which resulted in the highly acclaimed Sony CD release, “Alfred Cortot: The Master Classes”.
Perahia is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music and he holds an honorary doctorate from Leeds University. In 2004, he was awarded an honorary KBE by Her Majesty The Queen, in recognition of his outstanding service to music. He was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the London Jewish Cultural Centre.
For further information, please visit www.murrayperahia.com.