- Alexis Weissenberg
Alexis Weissenberg (born
July 26, 1929) is a Bulgarian-born French Jewish pianist.
He was born in
Sofiaand 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 Israel in 1945, where he studied with Leo Kestenberg, he went to the Juilliard Schoolin 1946 to study with Olga Samaroff. He also consulted Artur Schnabeland Wanda Landowska. In 1947 he made his New Yorkdebut with the Philadelphia Orchestraunder the baton of George Szellplaying Rachmaninoff'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 Berlinunder Herbert von Karajan, who called him "one of the best pianists of our time".
Weissenberg is said to possess one of the finest techniques of any pianist in the generation following the great Russian School pianists (Lhevinne, Horowitz, et al.), however, it is claimed that he never uses it for the sole purpose of virtuosity. Pyrotechnics only serve the musical exposition. His recording of the Liszt Sonata of the early 1970s is considered to be one of the most exciting and also lyrical, in a discography with over 100 recordings (Bryce Morrison in "gramophone"). He is also well known for his readings of Schumann, Rachmaninoff, and many works by
Frédéric Chopin, including the complete works for piano and orchestra, the piano sonatas nos. 2 & 3, the nocturnes, and the waltzes. Among his other notable interpretations are those of Johannes Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1, with Carlo Maria Giuliniand Maestro Muti, ("Les Introuvables d'Alexis Weissenberg", 2004), Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic, and the same composer's Piano Concerto No. 3 with Georges Prêtreand Seiji Ozawawith the Boston Symphony Orchestra(also with Leonard Bernsteinand the Orchestre National de France).
He also is a teacher, giving piano master classes all over the world. He has founded the Alexis Weissenberg's Piano Master Class in Engelberg (Switzerland), where he has had as students many pianists of the new generation:
Kirill Gerstein, Simon Mulligan, Mehmet Okonsar [http://www.okonsar.com] and Nazzareno Carusiamong others.
* Beethoven: The Five Piano Concertos with Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra on EMI (3 CDs)
* Chopin: Works for piano and orchestra. EMI (2 CDs)
* Chopin: The Nocturnes. EMI
* Chopin: Piano Sonata No. 2 and No. 3 EMI
* Bartok: Piano Concerto No. 2 with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra on RCA Red Seal
* Scarlatti: Sonatas (A selection of 15) on Deutsche Grammophon
* Debussy: Estampes, Suite Bergamasque, Children's Corner, L'Isle Joyeuse, etc on Deutsche Grammophon
* Mozart: Piano Concertos No. 9 and No. 21 with Giulini and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra
* Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition EMI
* Debussy: Piano works. Deutsche Grammophon (CD)
* Rachmaninoff: Piano sonatas nos. 1, 2. Deutsche Grammophon (CD)
* Rachmaninoff: Complete Preludes. RCA Gold Seal (CD)
* Brahms: Sonatas for violin & piano nos. 1-3. EMI (CD)
* Beethoven: Piano sonatas: "Pathétique , Moonlight and Appasaionata"
* Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2 (with Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra)
* Rachmaninoff: Piano concerto No. 3 (with Georges Pretre, Seiji Ozawa and L. Bernstein)
* Brahms: Piano concerto No. 1 (with Giulini and R. Muti, both on the EMI label)
* Schumann : "Kinderszenen" Opus 15 ( Toshiba-EMI )
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