This November 15th marks the centenary of the great Cuban-American pianist,
Jorge Bolet's, birth. One of the last examples of a true Romantic pianist,
Bolet’s playing at his best was both unique and profound (the great Russian
pianist Emil Gilels once referred to him as “the greatest pianist in the
Western hemisphere.”) To celebrate this milestone, on Wednesday, November
12 at 1 PM EST, over WWFM The Classical Network (wwfm.org), Jon M. Samuels
and Joseph Patrych will host a two-hour special tribute to Bolet
(rebroadcast time November 19 at 11 PM EST. It will also be available as a
podcast on the website at some future date.) We will discuss his recorded
legacy, play both commercial and live recordings that showcase his
extraordinary artistry (including cuts taken from the upcoming Marston set)
and play interviews with Dr. Frank Cooper, Francis Crociata, Ira Levin and
Bolet was born in Havana, Cuba, and came to the United States at a young
age to study at the Curtis Institute of Music. He came by his romantic
temperament quite honestly; he studied with such piano luminaries as
Leopold Godowsky, Josef Hofmann, Moriz Rosenthal and David Saperton, and
later with Abram Chasins. In his twenties, he became Rudolf Serkin's
assistant, and many years later was the head of the piano department at
Even though he won the coveted First Prize at the 1937 Naumburg Competiton,
and reviews of his concerts were consistently positive, Bolet's career was
slow in building, and he didn't achieve universal acclaim until the 1970s.
Among other things, we will discuss the trajectory of his career.
He was especially renowned for his playing of the music of Franz Liszt, but
as we'll demonstrate, he actually had a wide and varied repertoire, playing
such diverse composers as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Weber, Chopin,
Schumann, Mendelssohn, Godowsky, Debussy, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Reger
and numerous others. He even conducted the Japanese première of Gilbert
and Sullivan's Mikado!
Please join us for what should prove to be a very enjoyable program.