Vlado Perlemuter


Vlado Perlemuter, revered pianist who tried to capture the diversity a symphony orchestra in his solo playing, died Wednesday Sept. 4 in Paris. He was 98.

He was best known for his interpretations of Maurice Ravel and Frederic Chopin. Besides those two maestros, he was praised for recitals and albums of his presentation of Faure, Bach, Debussy, Schumann, Beethoven and Mozart. During a seven-decade career, he performed throughout Europe and in Asia, the U.S. and Canada. He was especially well-loved in Britain, where he often played and taught.

Born in what is now Lithuania to Polish parents, he came to Paris as a child, studied with acclaimed teacher-performer Alfred Cortot and won first prize at the Paris Conservatory at age 14. In the mid-1920s, he spent months working with Faurvre and Ravel. His scores were covered with notes from Ravel, and the pianist was generally considered the keeper of that master’s musical traditions for the piano. Once, for a Nimbus recording, he sat down at the keyboard and played more than two hours’ worth of Ravel’s music, nonstop. The resulting recording was not edited or touched up.

A Jew, he was forced to flee to Switzerland during World War II.

Perlemuter gave his last performance when he was nearly 90.

From 1951 to 1976, he was a leading professor at the Paris Conservatory, gave master classes in Britain, Canada and Japan, and served frequently on competition juries. He was a co-author of influential book “Ravel According to Ravel.”

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