From Bach to Chopin

Acclaimed Pianist Murray Perahia Plays Campbell Hall

by James Hanley Donelan

Murray_Perahia.jpgMurray Perahia, who holds the position
of principal guest conductor of the Academy of St. Martin in the
Fields, remains one of the most traveled and best known American
pianists, successfully combining scholarly attention to the music
with passionate performance. In particular, his interpretations of
Bach have brought him worldwide acclaim, including a Grammy for his
recording of the English Suites, as well as other awards
for his recordings of the Goldberg Variations, the
Keyboard Concertos, and Brandenburg Concerto No. 5. In
2002, he won the Grammy for his recording of the Chopin

Perahia is from New York, and he spent his formative years with
some of the greatest musicians of the 20th century. He had a close
friendship with Vladimir Horowitz — who took no students — and
collaborated with Rudolf Serkin, Pablo Casals, and the Budapest
String Quartet, along with many other notable performers.

Recently, Perahia has extended his ambitions beyond the piano
and into the worlds of conducting and scholarly editing. A hand
injury in the 1990s temporarily forced him to stop playing, and he
had to hear music from a different perspective; he returned from
this hiatus with renewed insight. Today he frequently appears as
both soloist and conductor with the Academy of St. Martin in the
Fields and other orchestras, taking on a challenge that relatively
few would dare. Conducting from the keyboard requires supreme
concentration and graceful movement, both of which Perahia has to

Most recently, he has decided to edit the complete Beethoven
sonatas for the Henle Urtext Edition, a job that a full-time
musicologist would find daunting. Essentially, he has taken
responsibility for determining what the Beethoven sonatas really
are — every note of them. For a performer with a grueling travel
schedule, this task will be an extraordinary achievement, but only
a performer of his caliber would truly know how to do it.

When he comes to Campbell Hall next week, Perahia will play one
of Beethoven’s most interesting sonatas, No. 15 in D
, known as the “Pastoral.” It is the last in Beethoven’s
early style, full of ease and grace. Perahia will also play
Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, Chopin’s Ballade No.
, and Bach’s Partita No. 2. His interpretations of
these works rank among the best of all time, combining both polish
and depth. Don’t miss your chance to hear him.


Pianist Murray Perahia plays UCSB’s Campbell Hall on Wednesday,
March 7 at 8 p.m. For tickets and more information call 893-3535 or


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.