Menahem Pressler, founding member of the Beaux Arts Trio, has established himself among the world’s most distinguished pianists with a career spanning almost six decades. Now 93 years old, he continues to captivate audiences as performer and pedagogue, performing solo and chamber music recitals to critical acclaim while maintaining a robust teaching career.
Pressler’s career was launched after he was awarded first prize at the Debussy International Piano Competition in San Francisco in 1946. Since then, he has performed with the orchestras of New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Dallas, San Francisco, London, Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, Amsterdam, Brussels, Oslo and Helsinki.
For nearly sixty years, Pressler has taught on the piano faculty at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he currently holds the rank of distinguished professor of music as the Charles Webb Chair. Pressler has had prize-winning students in the Queen Elizabeth, Busoni, Rubinstein, Leeds and Van Cliburn competitions. Furthermore, he frequently presents master classes, and continues to serve on the juries of many major international piano competitions.
Pressler has received honorary doctorates from the Manhattan School of Music, the University of Nebraska, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the North Carolina School of the Arts; six Grammy nominations; lifetime achievement awards from Gramophone magazine and the International Chamber Music Association; Chamber Music America’s Distinguished Service Award; and the Gold Medal of Merit from the National Society of Arts and Letters. In 2005 Pressler received the German President’s German Cross of Merit First Class, Germany’s highest honor, and France’s highest cultural honor, the Commandeur in the Order of Arts and Letters.
Pressler has recorded practically the entire chamber repertoire with the Beaux Arts Trio, and in 2015 Decca released a 60-CD set of their complete Philips recordings, comprising some 122 works. He has been the subject of books written to honor his life and legacy, including Menahem Pressler: The Artistry of Teaching and Always Something New to Discover: Menahem Pressler and the Beaux Arts Trio.