MURRAY PERAHIA SIGNS LANDMARK DEAL WITH DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON
“[Murray Perahia] attracts a devoted following perhaps because there’s none of the circus that so often accompanies artists of his stature. And that humbleness extends to his music-making too, where grandstanding has never played a part, yet where apparent simplicity can border on the sublime.” Financial Times, June 2015.
Deutsche Grammophon is proud to announce that Murray Perahia, one of the great musicians of our time, has signed to the yellow label. The American pianist intends to record key works from his repertoire, thereby preserving insights gained over the course of a career that began in the mid-1960s and continues to flourish as he approaches his 70th birthday next April. Perahia’s artistry has been fęted for its many qualities, not least its poetic eloquence, tonal nuance and spiritual depth. His move to Deutsche Grammophon follows an exclusive association with Sony Classical and its predecessor Columbia Masterworks that began in 1973.
This significant new partnership, destined to deliver interpretations of the highest artistic calibre to the DG catalogue, will be launched this autumn with the release of Bach’s French Suites. Perahia has always felt a great affinity with the music of Bach, having played some of his pieces since childhood and been powerfully influenced by a performance he attended at the age of fifteen of the St Matthew Passion conducted by Pablo Casals. He also found solace in studying the composer on a daily basis during a period in which illness prevented him from playing. He sees the French Suites as “Bach on the highest level”, adding, “I don’t think Bach wrote one note that didn’t have wider meanings and that wasn’t to be tackled with all one’s heart and soul.” His recording revels in the music’s diverse moods, from melancholy tenderness to out-and-out joy, and brings out every nuance of its elegant phrasing and expressive dance rhythms.
“I look forward to working with Deutsche Grammophon on projects that are dear to my heart,” comments Murray Perahia. “The recording process provides the chance to return to compositions – to uncover fresh ways of thinking and feeling about them – and to explore the masterworks of the keyboard repertoire at every stage in one’s development. There is something very special for me about revisiting music by composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin and Brahms. Their inexhaustible art remains a constant source of inspiration to me. My exciting new relationship with Deutsche Grammophon means that I can share my interpretations with the widest global audience.”
Murray Perahia was born on 19 April 1947 in the Bronx, New York City. He took piano lessons as an infant and emerged as an outstanding talent during his mid-teens. His career was propelled to new heights by victory at the Leeds International Piano Competition in 1972 and encouraged by, among others, Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears and Vladimir Horowitz. The latter proved an enduring influence on his pianism. Perahia, who has been based in London for many decades, is in demand as a recitalist at the world’s leading concert halls and as a soloist with the most eminent orchestras and conductors. As a recording artist, he has won three Grammy Awards, eight Gramophone Awards, and a host of other prestigious international prizes and accolades. Murray Perahia was appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2004 and was joint recipient (with Jessye Norman) of Israel’s Wolf Prize in Music in 2015.
An artist of Murray Perahia’s stature joining Deutsche Grammophon at an advanced stage in his career is not without precedent. During the 1980s, CBS Masterworks lost the two greatest pianists signed to the label at the time, when both Rudolph Serkin and, shortly afterwards, Vladimir Horowitz decided to entrust their mature years as recording artists to the yellow label, with now legendary results.
Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon, welcomes Murray Perahia to the yellow label: “It is a great privilege to be working with Murray Perahia on recording projects that will certainly be recognised as landmark interpretations for many decades to come by connoisseurs and critics as well as by a broader audience. One of Murray’s great qualities – in life as well as in music – has been his desire to constantly challenge himself and never give up fighting for the optimal result. His music-making today is as fresh and compelling as it was at the outset of his unparalleled career, but now of course he can also draw on his comprehensive experience and life-long studies of every academic and pianistic aspect of the core repertoire. Murray will be a great source of inspiration to the entire Deutsche Grammophon community of artists and music lovers.”