In the more than 30 years he has been performing on the concert stage, American pianist Murray Perahia, has become one of the most sought-after and cherished pianists of our time. On March 8, 2004, he was awarded an honorary KBE by Her Majesty The Queen of England, in recognition of his outstanding service to music.
Murray Perahia performs in all of the major international music centers and with every leading orchestra. He is the Principal Guest Conductor of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, with whom he has toured as conductor and pianist throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and South East Asia. Recently, Mr. Perahia embarked on an ambitious project to edit the complete Beethoven Sonatas for the Henle Urtext Edition. He also produced and edited numerous hours of recordings of recently discovered master classes by the legendary pianist, Alfred Cortot, which resulted in the highly acclaimed Sony CD release, “Alfred Cortot: The Master Classes”.
Mr. Perahia’s 2007-08 season began when he opened Carnegie Hall’s 117th season on October 3, 2007, playing Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4 under David Robertson with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. He then embarked on a nine-city recital tour throughout North America, culminating at Carnegie Hall. In 2008, Mr. Perahia will give recitals throughout Europe to include Amsterdam, Zurich, Paris, Vienna and London. In March /April 2008, Mr. Perahia once again will appear as soloist and conductor with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields in a cross-country tour of the United States.
Mr. Perahia has a wide and varied discography. His most recent solo recording features Franz Schubert’s Late Piano Sonatas (D. 958, 959 and 960). His recording of Frederic Chopin’s complete Etudes, Op. 10 and Op. 25, garnered him both the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance and Gramophone’s 2003 award for Best Instrumental Recording. His special association with the music of Bach is evident in his recent recordings of Bach Keyboard Concertos and the Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. His recording of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” received two Grammy nominations and won the 2001 Gramophone Award for Best Instrumental Recording. It was on the Top 10 Billboard Classical Chart for 15 weeks. In 1999, he won a Grammy for his recording of Bach’s English Suites (Nos. 1, 3, and 6), and in 1995 and 1997, he won Gramophone magazine awards for albums of Chopin ballades and music by Handel and Scarlatti. In 1998 Sony Classical released a four-disc set commemorating 25 years of his recordings issued under this label.
Born in New York, Mr. Perahia started playing piano at the age of four, and later attended Mannes College where he majored in conducting and composition. His summers were spent in Marlboro, where he collaborated with such musicians as Rudolf Serkin, Pablo Casals, and the members of the Budapest String Quartet. He also studied at the time with Mieczyslaw Horszowski. In subsequent years, he developed a close friendship with Vladimir Horowitz whose perspective and personality were an abiding inspiration.
In 1972 Mr. Perahia won the Leeds International Piano Competition. In 1973 he gave his first concert at the Aldeburgh Festival, where he worked closely with Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears, accompanying the latter in many lieder recitals. Mr. Perahia was co-artistic director of the Festival from 1981 to 1989.
Mr. Perahia is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music, and he holds an honorary doctorate from Leeds University. See more on Grammys.com