Alexis Weissenberg


Alexis Weissenberg (July 26, 1929 – January 8, 2012) was a Bulgarian-born French pianist. He was born in Sofia and had piano lessons from the age of three with Pancho Vladigerov. He gave his first public performance at the age of eight. After escaping to Palestine in 1945, where he studied with Leo Kestenberg, he went to the Juilliard School in 1946 to study with Olga Samaroff. He also consulted Artur Schnabel and Wanda Landowska. In 1947 he made his New York debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of George Szell playing Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3. Between 1956 and 1966 he took an extended sabbatical for the purpose of studying and teaching. He resumed his career in 1966 by giving a recital in Paris; later that year he gave Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in Berlin under Herbert von Karajan, who called him one of the best pianists of our time. Weissenberg possessed one of the finest techniques of any pianist in the generation following the great Russian School pianists (Lhevinne, Horowitz, et al.), yet he never used it for the sole purpose of virtuosity. Pyrotechnics only served the musical exposition. His recording of the Liszt Sonata of the early 1970s is one of the most exciting and also lyrical, in a discography with at least 75 recordings. He is also well known for his expressive readings of Schumann and Rachmaninoff. He also was a great teacher, giving piano master classes all over the world. He has founded the Alexis Weissenberg's Piano M...

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