Murray Perahia

Murray Perahia

Murray Perahia

From winning the Leeds Piano Competition in 1972, the American concert pianist and conductor has enjoyed an illustrious career for more than 40 years.

  • Perahia was born on 19 April 1947 in New York.
  • He began studying the piano at four but only began to practice seriously at 15, going on to study keyboard, conducting and composition.
  • In 1972, he became the first American to win first prize at the Leeds Piano Competition.
  • In 1973, he worked with Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears at the Aldeburgh Festival. He became co-artistic director of the Festival during the 1980s.
  • He became close to the great Vladimir Horowitz and visited him frequently during his last four years.
  • Perahia's first major recordings were Mozart's 27 piano concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra. 
  • Perahia has suffered a number of hand problems that have interrupted his playing career. 
  • He is active in chamber music and appeared regularly with the Guarneri and Budapest String Quartets. 
  • He is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. He has toured with them as conductor and pianist throughout the U.S., Europe, Japan and Asia.
  • In January 2009, he was appointed president of the Jerusalem Music Centre.
  • He is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music, and holds honorary doctorates from 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.

Did you know?

Perahia believes music 'represents an ideal world where all dissonances resolve, where all modulations —that are journeys— return home, and where surprise and stability coexist.'

Watch Murray Perahia play Schumann

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