Ahead of his 99th birthday on 16 December, the legendary pianist Menahem Pressler is celebrated by Wigmore Hall at a special concert dedicated to him on 25 October. The award-winning French string quartet, Quatuor Ébène, will perform music by Purcell, Schumann and Ligeti in the presence of their mentor and musical collaborator, who will be in the audience.
Born in Magdeburg, Germany, in 1923, Menahem Pressler fled Nazi Germany in 1939 before emigrating to Israel. Pressler made his Wigmore Hall debut in 1961 with the Beaux Arts Trio. They became one of Hall’s best-loved visitors, giving dozens of performances until their farewell concert in 2007. He received the Wigmore Medal in 2011, which recognises major international artists and significant figures in classical music who are strongly associated with Wigmore Hall.
John Gilhooly, Artistic and Executive Director of Wigmore Hall, said,
“Menahem Pressler’s visionary work with the Beaux Arts Trio brought chamber music to a wider public and set new standards in its performance for younger musicians. A gifted teacher, he has mentored some of the brightest and best, not least Quatuor Ébène, whose artistic daring is revitalising the string quartet for today. Having them all together in the Hall as Menahem is about to turn 99 seemed the perfect opportunity to salute his outstanding work and to recognise his continuing commitment to chamber music across an extraordinary career.”
Menahem Pressler was a founding member and the only pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio for nearly 55 years. He has established himself among the world’s most distinguished and honoured musicians, with a career spanning over six decades. He continues to captivate audiences worldwide as a performer and pedagogue, performing solo and chamber music recitals to great critical acclaim while maintaining a dedicated and robust teaching career at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he has taught since 1955.