World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Menahem Pressler

Menahem Pressler (born 16 December 1923, Magdeburg) is a German-born Israeli-American pianist.

Following Kristallnacht,[1] Pressler and his immediate family fled Nazi Germany in 1939,[2] initially to Italy, and then to Palestine. His grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins all died in concentration camps.[3] His career was launched after he won first prize at the Debussy International Piano Competition in San Francisco in 1946. His Carnegie Hall debut subsequently followed, with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy.[3]

Photo taken at the Palestine Broadcasting Service studio in Jerusalem, July 1947, after the performance of Piano Concerto (Schumann). Pressler stands to the right of microphone.

Since 1955, Pressler has taught on the piano faculty at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he holds the rank of Distinguished Professor of Music as the Charles Webb Chair.[4] His debut as a chamber musician was at the 1955 Berkshire Festival, where he appeared as the pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio, with Daniel Guilet, violin, and Bernard Greenhouse, cello.[4] Although he was a junior partner in the Beaux Arts Trio at the outset, Pressler ultimately became the only original member of the trio to perform with the group through its entire existence, including several changes of membership, up to the dissolution of the trio in 2008.[5] In 2010, he played at the Rheingau Musik Festival with Antonio Meneses, the last cellist of the Beaux Arts Trio, and appeared before in the series Rendezvous.[2]

Pressler returned to Germany in 2008 on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht.[1] In January 2014, aged 90, he made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.[6]His performance with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle at their 2014 New Year's Eve Concert was televised live all over the world.

The Beaux Arts Trio made an extensive series of recordings for Philips.[5] In addition, Pressler has recorded solo piano music commercially on the La Dolce Volta label.[7] Already at the beginning of the 1950s he had recorded a substantial quantity of solo piano music and for piano and orchestra of various composers for the US label MGM.

Awards and recognition

Among his honors and awards, Pressler has received honorary doctorates from the University of Nebraska, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the North Carolina School of the Arts, six Grammy nominations (including one in 2006), a lifetime achievement award from Gramophone Magazine[4] and the International Classical Music Awards,[8] Chamber Music America’s Distinguished Service Award, the Gold Medal of Merit from the National Society of Arts and Letters. He has also been awarded the German Critics “Ehrenurkunde” award[4] and election into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2007 Pressler was appointed as an Honorary Fellow of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance in recognition of a lifetime of performance and leadership in music. In 2005 Pressler received two additional awards of international merit: the German Bundesverdienstkreuz (Cross of Merit), Germany’s highest honor, and France’s highest cultural honor, the Commandeur in the Order of Arts and Letters award.


  1. ^ a b Kate Connolly (2008-11-07). "Kristallnacht anniversary: Hope comes to Berlin's Tempelhof". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-11-27. 
  2. ^ a b „Was der Welt eigentlich den Wert gibt“ Volker Milch, Wiesbadener Tagblatt, 27 August 2010 (German)
  3. ^ a b Kate Connolly (2008-11-14). "No jacket required". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-11-27. 
  4. ^ a b c d Current and former students to pay tribute to Menahem Pressler at 80th birthday celebration concert Indiana University, 8 December 2003]
  5. ^ a b James R. Oestreich (2008-04-05). "A Trio Winds Down, a Circle Closes, and Musicians Plan to Go On". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-11-27. 
  6. ^ Carolin Pirich (2014-01-16). "Suchen, was einen verzaubert". Die Zeit. Retrieved 2014-11-27. 
  7. ^ Fiona Maddocks (2013-10-20). "Schubert, Mozart, Beethoven: Tales from Vienna – review". The Observer. Retrieved 2014-11-27. 
  8. ^ "IU Distinguished Professor of Piano Menahem Pressler wins lifetime achievement award" (Press release). Indiana University. 1 March 2011. Retrieved 2014-11-27. 

External links

  • Menahem Pressler's site
  • Indiana University Alliance of Distinguished and Titled Professors - Menahem Pressler
  • Interview with Menahem Pressler by Bruce Duffie, June 8, 1996
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.