JEREMY SIEPMANN (1942 - 2016)
Though long resident in England, Jeremy Siepmann was born and formally educated in the United States. Having completed his studies at the Mannes College of Music in New York, he moved to London at the suggestion of Sir Malcolm Sargent in 1964. After several years as a freelance lecturer he was invited to join the staff of London University. For most of the last twenty years he confined his teaching activity to the piano, his pupils including pianists of worldwide repute.
As a writer he contributed articles, reviews, and interviews to numerous journals and reference works (including New Statesman, The Musical Times, Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, and The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians), some of them being reprinted in book form (Oxford University Press, Robson Books). His books include a widely acclaimed biography of Chopin (The Reluctant Romantic, Gollancz/Northeastern University Press, 1995), two volumes on the history and literature of the piano, and a biography of Brahms (Everyman/EMI, 1997). In December 1997 he was appointed editor of Piano magazine.
His career as a broadcaster began in New York in 1963 with an East Coast radio series on the life and work of Mozart, described by Alistair Cooke as ‘the best music program on American radio’. On the strength of this, improbably, he was hired by the BBC as a humourist, in which capacity he furnished weekly satirical items on various aspects of American life.
After a long break he returned to broadcasting in 1977 and devised, written, and presented more than 1,000 programmes, including the international award-winning series The Elements of Music. In 1988 he was appointed Head of Music at the BBC World Service, broadcasting to an estimated audience of 135 million. He left the Corporation in the spring of 1992 to form his own independent production company.
Jeremy Siepmann wrote and narrated all current titles in the Life and Works of the Great Composers, Classics Explained series as well as the one-volume Instruments of the Orchestra for Naxos Educational.