Death of a great pianist, 90

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.


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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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