Death of a great pianist, 90

Death of a great pianist, 90


norman lebrecht

April 17, 2019

The Austrian Beethoven specialist Jörg Demus died yesterday in St Pölten at a great age.

A student of Krips and Swarowsky he seemed destined for a conducting career before devoting himself entirely to the keyboard.

He recorded the Beethoven sonatas and wrote a book on them, accompanied Schwarzkopf and Fischer-Dieskau and was cherished for his single-minded dedication to the classical and romantic literature.

May he rest in  peace.



  • Adam Stern says:

    One of the most memorable concerts of my life was an all-Schumann lieder recital by Jörg Demus and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau at Carnegie Hall. The magic still lingers after roughly forty years… Rest in peace, Mr. Demus.

  • Caravaggio says:

    Profoundly saddened to learn this news. May he rest in eternal peace. A marvelous pianist and sensitive accompanist. A haunting “Die schöne Müllerin” here, with baritone Wolfgang Holzmair.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    I’ve heard that Demus had a warehouse full of pianos, somewhere on the outskirts of Wien. If so, I’m sure there would be some interesting historical instruments in there. What a loss for the classical piano community.

  • Ruben Greenberg says:

    He was musical sensitivity and wisdom incarnate. A charming, cultured gentlema. Paul Badura-Skoda was his great friend and fellow francophone and francophile. All my thoghts are with him.

  • John Rook says:

    A wonderful pianist. While a teenager I bought a recording of his of Beethoven sonatas on – was it a Graf? I don’t have it here with me. I loved it, a new sound world and one I’ve cherished ever since. Many thanks, Herr Demus.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Thank you for the music, maestro. A life well lived and much appreciated.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Very saddened to hear this news.
    He was the quiet giant of the Viennese classical piano repertoire – Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert.
    He will be missed but not forgotten.

  • Bruce says:

    “Schubertiade” with Elly Ameling = one of my all-time favorites

  • Boringfileclerk says:

    Very sad news. May he rest in peace.

  • James M says:

    Wonderful pianist and, fortunately for us, well recorded. His work with Elly Ameling is not to be missed, though one can easily say that about so much else he did. RIP.

  • Harry Levy says:

    He was one of my early favorites and his recordings both as soloist and accompanist are milestones.

  • Lindsay Koob says:

    During the 1960s in Vienna, my piano teacher, Friederike Ratzer, was one of Herr Demus’s classmates from the Vienna Academy. She often took me to his concerts — and afterwards, we sometimes went to a nearby “Konditorei” together for coffee and cake. He was such a gracious and charming person, and he always paid attention to me: a young boy with stars in his eyes. His performances of the Schubert Impromptus inspired me to learn them. I’m utterly brokenhearted.

    • Katy Geisler says:

      Hi, i am Katy Geisler ( Ettl) and i am searching for Friederike Ratzers Adress. She was my Piano teacher in school and we celebrate this year our 50 th anniversery of school ending. Please Can you help me to find her? Thanks Katy Geisler