In the more than forty years he has performed on the concert stage, American pianist Murray Perahia has become one of the most sought-after and cherished pianists of our time, performing 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 which he has toured as conductor and pianist throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and Southeast Asia.
Born in New York, Murray started playing piano at the age of four and later attended Mannes College where he majored in conducting and composition. His summers were spent at the Marlboro Festival, where he collaborated with such musicians as Rudolf Serkin, Pablo Casals, and the members of the Budapest String Quartet. During this time, he also studied with Mieczysław Horszowski. In subsequent years, he developed a close friendship with Vladimir Horowitz, whose perspective and personality were an enduring inspiration. In 1972, Murray won the Leeds International Piano Competition, and 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. Murray was co-artistic director of the Festival from 1981 to 1989.
This coming season Murray will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4 at the Salzburg Festival with the Vienna Philharmonic and Bernhard Haitink and Baltic Music Seasons with the Israel Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta. He will also give solo recitals throughout Asia, with performances in Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo and Mito. In addition, he will give a series of recitals across North America, including recitals in Charlottesville, Berkeley, Costa Mesa, Ann Arbor, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto and New York’s Carnegie Hall. He will give his final recital tour of the season in Europe in May and June 2019, and play at venues including the Gulbenkian Lisbon, Barbican London and Philharmonie de Paris.
Murray has a wide and varied discography. In Autumn 2016 he joined Deutsche Grammophon and released a highly anticipated recording of Bach French Suites, which was followed by Beethoven’s Hammerklavier and Moonlight sonatas in February 2018. Sony Classical issued a special boxed set edition of all his recordings including several DVDs entitled The First 40 Years. The recording of the Brahms Handel Variations, which won the Gramophone Award in 2011, was described as “one of the most rewarding Brahms recitals currently available.” Some of his previous solo recordings feature a 5-CD boxed set of his Chopin recordings, Bach’s Partitas Nos. 1, 5, and 6 and Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, Op. 14, 26, and 28. He is the recipient of two Grammy Awards for his recordings of Chopin’s complete Etudes and Bach’s English Suites Nos. 1, 3, and 6, and several Gramophone Awards including the inaugural Piano Award in 2012.
Recently, Murray 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.
Murray is an honorary fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, and he holds honorary doctorates from the Juilliard School, Oxford University, the Royal College of Music, Leeds University, and Duke University. In 2004, he was awarded an honorary KBE by Her Majesty The Queen, in recognition of his outstanding service to music.