Remembering Menahem Pressler

Menahem Pressler, the pianist and founding member of the Beaux Arts Trio, passed away on May 6. He was 99.

Born in Magdeburg, Germany, the 14-year-old Pressler hid from Nazi thugs who vandalized the shop owned by his Jewish parents during the Kristallnacht. In 1939, the family fled and emigrated, first to Israel and then to the United States. In 1946, Pressler won first prize at the Debussy International Piano Competition in San Francisco. His Carnegie Hall debut, with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, soon followed. For 55 years, Menahem Pressler was a member of the acclaimed Beaux Arts Trio. In 1955, he joined the faculty of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he continued to teach until his death.

Here is the Beaux Arts Trio’s 1981 recording of Beethoven’s Trio in D Major, Op. 70, No. 1, commonly known as the “Ghost.” Menahem Pressler is joined by violinist Isidore Cohen and cellist Bernard Greenhouse:

Menahem Pressler performs Debussy’s Rêverie at Yellow Lounge in Berlin in 2018: