American pianist Murray Perahia has had an illustrious career, winning three Grammy awards and the title of Knight Commander of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II in honor of his oustanding service to music. In 35 years, he has performed in all of the major international music centers and with every leading orchestra. This past May, he received an honorary doctorate in recognition of his enormous contribution to music.
It is with these credentials that Perahia returns to Duke Oct. 20 for a performance that connects two Duke Performances series: the Piano Recital Series and the Duke Artists Series.
Perahia established a relationship with the University when he was brought to Durham by Allan Bone, the founding conductor of the Duke Symphony Orchestra. Perahia performed in the Duke Artists Series as early as 1973 and most recently in 2007. Stephen Jaffe, Director of the Department of Music wrote in an e-mail that Perahia has had a relationship with the music department since his first appearance here, one that has remained strong throughout his ascent from a 20-something musician to the world’s finest pianist.
Director of Duke Performances Aaron Greenwald emphasized the importance of access to good art, especially in concert.
“[Perahia] has a clear idea of the music he’s making; it’s not complicated, it’s very coherent,” Greenwald said. “He renders the music extremely clear for someone who has not listened to a great deal before.”
Fellow pianist Randall Love, Associate Professor of the Practice of Music, grew up with Perahia’s recordings when he was attending conservatory, and now can engage with Perahia during his visit.
“Perahia is personable and quite forthcoming in talking and engaging the audience,” Love said.
Perahia’s extensive classical training is evident in his vibrant playing.
“There is a crackling energy in his performance,” Love said. “He is exciting and visceral, elegant but never crass. He walks a fine line: pumping it up but never pounding.”
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