97 today, this great artist is teaching remotely

97 today, this great artist is teaching remotely


norman lebrecht

December 16, 2020

Happy birthday to Menahem Pressler, who was giving lessons this morning as usual, only not face-to-face for the moment.

Menahem, pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio, was enjoying a renaisaance as a solo artist when Covid put his engagements on hold.

Not for long, we hope.



  • Daniel Poulin says:

    When asked what the secret to his longevity was he replied: “I simply take good care of my health. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I eat light meals and I sleep well, six or seven hours a night. You can also mention that I don’t wear glasses, I’m still driving my car, I make good use of my cell phone, I just got a new computer and I bought an iPad”. That interview was done on the eve of his 90th birthday in Montreal.

    • henry williams says:

      some people have good health. i have a relative
      who is 79. and he last went to a doctor when he was
      23. he is not registered with any GP.
      bless him

  • yujafan says:

    a great artist and by all accounts a most generous human being, certainly an irrepressible spirit – long may he be with us!

  • James Weiss says:

    Mazel tov!

  • Martin Engstroem says:

    Happy birthday dear Menahem and many happy returns.

  • Edgar Self says:

    With love and every good wish to Menachem Pressler on the occasion of his 97th birthday, having brought so much beauty and pleasure into the world. We youngsters must try for the records of Mieczyslaw Horszowski, Leo Ornstein, and Hugues Cuenod, and try to be good for another decade at the very least, as examples to all the others.

    • Basso Continuoso says:

      Speaking for myself, I always wanted to hear the oldest artists possible, not the newest. It taught me musical tradition.

    • David K. Nelson says:

      I don’t know when he made his first recordings, but my MGM Records LPs must date to 1950-52 and he was by then already a mature artist. Remarkable.

      I am reminded of Mischa Elman’s quip – when I was five they said I played very well for my age. 70 years later they’re saying the same thing.

      Speaking of musicians of great age, we were denied, alas, a performance that had been planned — Lionel Tertis and Pablo Casals were friends and shared a birthday (Dec. 29, 1876). When they were both in their 90s Tertis composed a set of variations on a theme of Handel that the two of them planned to perform at their 100th birthday. He sent the music to Casals with a suggestion to start practicing because the music was very difficult. But Casals died at 96 in 1973. Tertis lived on to be 98 and died in 1975.

    • Greg Bottini says:

      I can only echo your thoughts, Edgar.

  • ad mea v’esrim dear Maestro

  • Mareile Chmura says:

    Alles, alles Gute zum Geburtstag, lieber Menahem. Wir sind immer grosse Fans von Dir gewesen . Umarmung Mareile Chmura

  • PAUL CANNON says:

    Mazeltov to a wonderful person!

  • Basso Continuoso says:

    While Pressler may be well off, we should take note that most studio teachers will have or do have no pensions, no retirement funds to speak of, and have to keep teaching as long as possible out of financial necessity. It should not be so, but it is, until changes are made.

  • Gerald Spear says:

    May this and countless birthdays ahead bring health, and joy equal to that with which you have blessed us.
    I tried in about 1980 to express these sentiments to you at a reception after a concert of the Beaux Arts Trio in Laguna Beach CA when I said I hoped that when my time came that the Beaux Arts Trio would greet me at heaven’s gates. You replied “Do you know something about my health that I do not?”
    Hesitating, I asked if you had ever heard of Josef Hassid. You replied with great fervor that you listened to his recordings when you were a youth in Israel and proceeded to tell me the tragic facts of his life.
    In gratitude, therefore, I call your attention to the following link in the hope I can reciprocate the joy you have brought to me: josefhassid.com

  • yujafan says:

    and no one asked who the pupil was…. aren’t you curious? to have such a teacher must be quite something

  • R. Brite says:

    Thank you for the reminder, Norman. Now, with which of my many Pressler recordings shall I celebrate the day … ?

  • Jack Cohan says:

    How wonderful to see you thriving at age 97. Still remember my first lesson with you in September, 1959, and all the wonderful years that followed. I was 22 then and will be 84 tomorrow!!! My, how time flies! Wishing you good health and a happy and healthy New Year.

  • Robert Wilson says:

    I saw you first with the Beaux Arts Trio at Beckman Auditorium/Caltech in about 1970, and was so impressed by the precision and beauty. I most recently saw you teach a Master Class to three pianists at UCI Irvine about 2016. I am so happy you are well, and hope to see you again in California!