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Misha Dichter

Now in the fifth decade of an illustrious international career, Misha Dichter traces his musical heritage to the two great pianistic traditions of the 20th century: the Russian Romantic School as personified by Rosina Lhevinne, his mentor at The Juilliard School, and the German Classical style that was passed on to him by Aube Tzerko, a pupil of Artur Schnabel.  Mr. Dichter reveals this dual legacy in his solo recitals and appearances with virtually all of the world’s major orchestras, performing the grand virtuoso compositions of Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky, as well as music from the central German-Viennese repertoire–works by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms--which embody more introspective qualities.

An active chamber musician, in addition, Mr. Dichter has collaborated with most of the world’s finest string players and frequently performs with Cipa Dichter in duo-piano recitals and concerto performances throughout North America and in Europe, as well as top summer music festivals in the U.S., such as Ravinia, Caramoor, Mostly Mozart, and the Aspen Music Festival.  They have brought to the concert stage many previously neglected works of the two-piano and piano-four-hand repertoires, including the world premiere of Robert Starer's Concerto for Two Pianos, the world premiere of the first movement of Shostakovich’s two-piano version of Symphony No. 13 (Babi Yar)*, and the world premiere of Mendelssohn’s unpublished Songs Without Words, Op. 62 and 67 for piano four hands. Mr. Dichter’s master classes at music festivals and at such conservatories and universities as Juilliard, Curtis, Eastman, Yale, Harvard, and the Amsterdam Conservatory, are widely attended.

Mr. Dichter was born in Shanghai in 1945, his Polish parents having fled Poland at the outbreak of World War II.  He moved with his family to Los Angeles at the age of two and began piano lessons four years later. In addition to his keyboard studies with Aube Tzerko, which established the concentrated practice regimen and the intensive approach to musical analysis that he follows to this day, Mr. Dichter studied composition and analysis with Leonard Stein, a disciple of Arnold Schoenberg.  He subsequently came to New York to work with Mme. Lhevinne at The Juilliard School.

At the age of 20, while still enrolled at Juilliard, he entered the 1966 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, where his choice of repertoire—music of Schubert and Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky—reflected the two major influences on his musical development.  Mr. Dichter’s stunning triumph at that competition launched his international career.  Almost immediately thereafter, he performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 at Tanglewood with Erich Leinsdorf and the Boston Symphony, a concert that was nationally broadcast live on NBC and subsequently recorded for RCA.  In 1968, Mr. Dichter made his debut with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, performing this same concerto.  Appearances with leading European ensembles, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, and the principal London orchestras, as well as regular performances with major American orchestras, soon followed.

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