Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy writes: “THE ONE AND ONLY MICHAEL PONTI DIED YESTERDAY NIGHT. No other pianist was lifted up to the Olympus of pianists by the critics for his virtuosity and daredevilry as often as he was pushed down from there for the same reasons. He managed to do what few could – to be a legend in his own lifetime. He may have seemed harsh and merciless to some people, and as a person edgy and uncompromising, but as a teacher he was devoted, demanding, imaginative and understanding all at once. And as a friend he was one of the most loyal people I have ever known. We often sat together for hours listening to recordings of Horowitz, Hoffman, Cortot, Friedman, Ponti, Gieseking, Heifetz, some private live recordings of my concerts, our beloved Victor Borge, Schnabel, Backhaus and Argerich … He had a large collection of pirate recordings of Horowitz’s concerts that no one else knew about. I learned a great deal from him and will always be grateful. Rest in peace, great master and old friend.”