WFIU’s artist of the month for June is pianist Menahem Pressler, the Dean Charles H. Webb Chair in Music and Distinguished Professor of Piano at the Jacobs School of Music.
Menahem Pressler fled from Germany to Israel in 1939. In 1946 he won his first major piano competition, the Debussy International Piano Competition. He made his American debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy, and for the next decade appeared with many orchestras across the country and internationally.
In 1955, Pressler made his chamber music debut with the Beaux Arts Trio at the Berkshire Music Festival. His collaboration with this group for more than fifty years made them the “gold standard for trios throughout the world” in the opinion of The Washington Post.
Throughout their time together, the Beaux Arts Trio recorded the entire standard piano trio repertoire. Following the Trio’s disbanding in 2008, Pressler has continued to work with groups such as the Juilliard, Emerson, and Cleveland quartets.
It was also in 1955 that Pressler joined the piano faculty at Indiana University. His former students hold teaching positions in prominent schools of music and conservatories across the country, and some have become internationally prominent performers. Pressler continues to teach private students, to give master classes around the world, and to serve on juries of international piano competitions.
Pressler has received six Grammy nominations and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2005 he received the German President’s Deutsche Bundesverdienstkreuz (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 award.
WFIU will feature music performed by Menahem Pressler throughout the month of June.