Menahem Pressler, Pianist Who Co-Based the Beaux Arts Trio, Dies at 99
“In current years, we’ve seen a speedy growth not solely of the viewers for chamber music, however of that viewers’s sophistication and its consciousness that the style additionally contains sonatas, piano trios, small vocal ensembles, quintets, sextets and certainly all method of mixtures,” John Rockwell of The Times wrote in 1979. “And for that growth of consciousness, we are able to partly thank the Beaux Arts Trio.”
In 2008, when the Beaux Arts Trio disbanded after 53 years, Mr. Pressler was nonetheless its anchor, the final surviving unique member. He was 84, however he continued performing as a soloist and with ensembles. He additionally continued educating at Indiana University, the place he held the Charles H. Webb chair in Music.
Menahem Pressler was born in Magdeburg, Germany, on Dec. 16, 1923, 153 years after what is usually accepted as Beethoven’s birthday. One of three youngsters of Moshe and Judith (Zavderer) Pressler, he started enjoying the piano at 6 and was an achieved performer as a teen, taught secretly by a church organist after Hitler’s persecution of the Jews rose to a fever pitch.
He recalled Kristallnacht, in November 1938, when the Nazis orchestrated a nationwide assault on Jewish houses, companies and synagogues.
“The thugs broke into our household store in Magdeburg — a gentleman’s outfitters,” Mr. Pressler told The Guardian in 2008. His English nonetheless accented with the German of his childhood, he slipped into the current tense as vivid recollections returned: “We are hiding in the home, hoping it would go by. In the road, you hear working, yelling, smashing sounds, banging on the door.”
Menahem, his mother and father and his siblings, Leo and Selma, escaped to Italy months later after which reached Haifa. His grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all perished within the Holocaust.