William Masselos

William Masselos

William Masselos (11 August 1920 - 23 October 1992) was a famous American pianist who studied with Carl Friedberg, a disciple of Brahms and Clara Schumann, and also with Nelly Reuschel at New York's Institute of Musical Art (later called Juilliard School).

William Masselos was born on August 11, 1920 in Niagara Falls to a Dutch mother and a Greek father. He made his New York The Town Hall debut at the age of 18, in 1938. In 1952, at the age of 32, Masselos played the Brahms Piano Concerto in D minor in his first appearance with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Dimitri Mitropoulos. This impressive debut was the first in a long line of appearances with major orchestras which also included the New York Philharmonic under Monteux and Bernstein, the Montreal Symphony under Klemperer, the London Philharmonic under Bernard Haitink, the American Symphony under Stokowski, the Philadelphia Orchestra under Ormandy, and numerous others.

Known as a champion of contemporary music, Masselos premiered many works including the Charles Ives Piano Sonata No. 1, the Piano Fantasy by Aaron Copland, and most of the piano literature by Ben Weber, including the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra and the Fantasy (Variations), Op.25. He was the soloist in the the first performances of piano concertos by Alan Hovhaness, Johan Franco, Marga Richter, Carlos Surinach, and William Mayer, in addition to solo pieces by John Cage, Dane Rudhyar, Robert Helps, Carlos Chavez, and many others.

As an heir, through Carl Friedberg, of the Schumann and Brahms tradition, he was also particularly noted for his interpretation of the Schumann Davidsbündlertanze Op. 6 and the Brahms Sonatas, both of which he recorded for RCA in the early 1970s and are highly esteemed record collector items.

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