Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

From Academic Kids

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (January 5 1920June 12, 1995) was an Italian pianist.

Born in the province of Brescia, he began music lessons at the age of three initially with the violin but quickly switched to the piano. At ten he entered the Milan Conservatory. At the insistence of his father he studied medicine for a brief period of time. At age 18 he began his professional career by entering the Ysa˙e International Festival, where he placed seventh. A year later he would earn his first fame in the proceding international festival held in Geneva where he was acclaimed as "a new Liszt" by pianist Alfred Cortot, a presiding judge. Apart from his musical activities was a qualified doctor and pilot, racing car driver, and member of the Fascist resistance during the Second World War. Claimed, amongst other things, to be descended from St. Francis of Assisi.

Michelangeli has been regarded as among the most commanding and individual piano virtuosos of the 20th century among names such as Horowitz and Richter. He is often considered the most important Italian pianist after Ferruccio Busoni. Of Michelangeli the music critic Harold Schonberg wrote, "His fingers can no more hit a wrong note or smudge a passage than a bullet can be veered off course once it has been fired....The puzzling part about Michelangeli is that in many pieces of the romantic repertoire he seems unsure of himself emotionally, and his otherwise direct playing is then laden with expressive devices that disturb the musical flow. He concerts more than he plays."

Other discographical highlights include live performances in London of Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit and Chopin's Sonata No. 2. His pairing of Ravel's Piano Concerto in G and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 4 is thought to be one of the greatest concerto recordings ever made, surpassing the latter's own, and his Debussy series for DG is something of a benchmark, if sometimes accused of being a little unatmospheric.

Michelangeli was famous for last-minute cancellations of his concert recitals as well as being an obssessive perfectionist at the keyboard. His last concert took place on May 7, 1993 in Hamburg. After an extended illness he died in Lugano.

Further reading

  • Schonberg, Harold C. (1987). The Great Pianists: From Mozart to the Present (2nd ed.) New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671638378

External links

de:Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli it:Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli


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