Menahem Pressler returning to Canton
By Dan Kane
A legendary musician is heading to town on Dec. 4, for a concert that promises to be an inspiring event.
Pianist Menahem Pressler, 87, is returning for his second engagement with Maestro Gerhardt Zimmermann and the Canton Symphony Orchestra at Umstattd Hall. He will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4.
Founder of the Beaux Arts Trio, Pressler last visited the Umstattd stage in 2009, where he performed the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major.
“There is a wonderful intimacy which he is able to bring forth in his music-making,” Zimmermann said at the time.
Interviewed prior to the 2009 concert, Pressler talked about his decision to continue performing.
“People say, ‘Why do you do that? You must be crazy.’ I tell them I do it because it gives my life the reason,” Pressler said. “I’m playing now not for the applause or the pay of it. Playing gives me the ability and the possibility to feel creative and share the love that I feel for this music with my audience.”
Born in Germany, Pressler fled the Nazis in 1938 and emigrated to Israel. His performing career was launched in 1946 when he took first prize at the Debussy International Piano Competition in San Francisco. In 1955, he founded the internationally renowned Beaux Arts Trio, which enjoyed a remarkable and prolific run through 2009. Also in ’55, he joined the piano faculty at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he remains a distinguished professor of music.
Asked about the future, Pressler was poetic. “I feel I am on this odyssey to find the innermost feeling that gives music its eternal life,” he said. “This music is to speak to people, to enrich them and to give them pleasure.”
The Dec. 4 concert also will include Mozart’s Overture to “Abduction from the Seraglio,” Saint-Saëns’ “Le Rouet d’Omphale” and Debussy’s “La Mer.”
Tickets, $20, $30, and $40, may be ordered at 330-452-2094 and www.cantonsymphony.org and will be available at the Umstattd Hall box office one hour prior to the performance.
During his Canton stay, Pressler will conduct a piano master class at 10 a.m. Dec. 3 in the Stewart Community Room of Malone University’s Randall Campus Center. Admission is free but reservations are required; call the Canton Symphony box office at 330-452-2094.