Top US pianist thrills fans with challenging Beethoven work

Updated: 2016-10-26 08:20

By Chen Nan(China Daily)

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Top US pianist thrills fans with challenging Beethoven work

Murray Perahia plays in a concert. The pianist has given a recital recently in Beijing. [Photo/Agencies]

Born into a Jewish family in the Bronx, in New York, and now based in London, Perahia started learning the piano at 4. He began his career in 1972 by winning the Leeds International Piano Competition, and has been hailed as one of the great musicians of our time, and an imaginative and intelligent pianist.

He says he didn't like practicing until he was 15. "Nobody likes practicing. It's too heavy. But I did love playing the piano. I like improvising on the piano and listening to recordings," says Perahia.

As a recording artist, he has won three Grammys, eight Gramophone Awards, and a host of other prestigious international prizes and accolades.

"I am not a religious person but in music, I am. There is spirituality. It's not just the notes. It has to come from the soul," he says.

For the pianist, every note matters. That's why he spends lots of time studying and analyzing scores.

"It's what is called 'cohesiveness'. It struck me that it is the way composers taught. It seems to me it is very important to study the way they taught in order to understand what they were writing," he says.

In 1991, Perahia suffered a devastating injury to his thumb, which temporarily forced him to stop playing. It was during that time he found solace studying Bach's music. After recovering, he released a series of award-winning recordings of Bach's works.

Earlier this month, the pianist released a recording of Bach's French Suites, which is his first album after signing with the German label Deutsche Grammophon.

"My hand is fully recovered. It has not given me trouble for a very long time.

"When I couldn't play, I needed the nourishment (that Bach's music provided). It gave me great peace.

"Bach is a very expressive composer. His compositions touch the soul very deeply. These days, I need Bach," he says.

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