“The more I hear its nuances of sound, the more I realize the wealth of colors only the Steinway can produce.”
In a field in which each season heralds the arrival of new “talents” soon forgotten, Murray Perahia has remained a reliable and immensely gifted presence on the international scene for more than four decades, despite long breaks away from performing. In 1964 he entered the Mannes College of Music in his native New York, studying composition and conducting; though both endeavors remained secondary to his career as a pianist.
Perahia is often described as a “musician's musician,” one who does not adopt a virtuoso persona, but performs with a distinctive directness, without exaggerated or demonstrative gestures. His playing is clean and meticulous, his sound cool, transparent, sparkling, and exquisitely shaded. He is best known for his performances of Classical and early Romantic repertoire; from the late 1990s he developed an especial reputation as an interpreter of Bach. In 2000, his recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations was awarded two Grammy nominations.
A hand injury and resulting infection have caused Perahia to step away for the stage for extended periods during his career, but his popularity has been sustained largely through his catalogue of recordings. He signed an exclusive contract with CBS Masterworks in 1973 and has remained with that label through its corporate transformation into Sony Classical. His recordings have received numerous accolades, including multiple Grammys and Gramophone Awards.
Photo: Felix Broede