Birth: Sep 21, 1912 in Budapest, Hungary
Death: Dec 9, 2005 in New York, NY
Genre: Keyboard, Concerto
Gyorgy Sandor was an internationally respected pianist and piano teacher, especially known for his recordings of music of Bartok and Prokofiev. His cousin Arpad Sandor (1896-1972) was a noted pianist and music critic who toured widely as accompanist to such leading artists as Jascha Heifetz and Lily Pons. Gyorgy studied at the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest as a piano pupil of Bela Bartok and composition student of Zoltan Kodaly. He made his concert debut in Budapest in 1930 and toured widely through Europe until 1939. In that year Sandor left for the United States. He became a naturalized citizen of that country in 1943.
In the competitive world of U.S. concert life at that time (when many great European artists escaped war-torn Europe), he began to reestablish his career. By the end of World War II he was positioned to begin a successful international touring career that took him to all the major musical centers of the West. In 1945 he played the first performance of Bartok's piano transcription of his orchestra work Dance Suite and in 1946 made the premiere the composer's posthumous masterpiece, the Third Piano Concerto. In 1956 he joined the faculty of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, remaining there until 1961. In that year he moved to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, as director of graduate studies in piano. In those years he began making recordings, often for the Vox label. He produced noted Vox Boxes of the complete piano music of Bartok (wining the Grand Prix du Disque) and Prokofiev. For Vox's sister label Turnabout he produced the complete piano works of Kodaly. Thirty years later he produced another recording of the complete Bartok for Sony Classical. In 1981 he published a book, On Piano Playing: Motion, Sound, and Expression. In 1982 he left Ann Arbor to join the piano faculty of the Juilliard School of Music in New York.
He toured widely and frequently served as a juror in major international piano competitions. In addition, he gave master classes at institutions including the Paris Conservatory, Indiana University School of Music, the Jerusalem Music Center, the Assissi Festival, and the Mozarteum in Salzburg. His publications included bravura piano transcriptions of Dukas' The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Bach's Chaconne and Fugue, and selections of Bartok's 44 Violin Duos. In 1982 he was presented with Hungary's highest award for artistic achievement. In the 1990s his activities in the recording studios increased, with recordings of Bartok's complete piano concertos joining his catalog of the Rachmaninov Second, and numerous works by Bach, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, and the complete sets already noted.
Sandor cautioned young pianists that the style of Bartok piano playing that arose in the decades after the master's death is inauthentic; that the composer wished a lyrical, elastic tempo with an emphasis on the melodic line. His later Bartok recordings are intended to exemplify the music as he learned it from Bartok himself.
- Joseph Stevenson (All Music Guide)
Hungarian-born Austrian composer whose experimental works include orchestral, chamber, and choral music.
Gyorgy Sandor's career as internationally known concert pianist has spanned six continents. He was a student of Bartok in piano and Kodaly in composition. He is now on faculty at the Juilliard School .
His recordings on CD include the entire solo piano repertoire of Bartok (Grand Prix du Disque), of Prokofieff (VOX Legends ), and of Kodaly (Turnabout), as well as numerous works by Bach, Chopin, Brahms, Schuman, Liszt, Rachmaninoffs 2nd Concerto (with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra), Bartok's piano Concertos (Philadelphia Orchestra, Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Symphony ), etc.
Of the numerous world premieres presented by Sandor, are works by Barber, Bernstein, Lukas Foss. The most significant ones are some major works by Bartok, the " Dance Suite, adapted for piano and revised by Bartok for its world premiere at Carnegie Hall in 1945.
Sandor also presented the world premiere of Bartok's 3rd piano Concerto in 1946 with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Eugene Ormandy.
His published piano versions include Dukas "the Sorcerer's Apprentice " (Schirmer), Shostakovich's "Russian Dance" of the "Golden Age" (Leeds), and Bartok's "Songs and Dances " of the 44 Violin Duos (Universal) and "Tempo di Ciaccona and Fuge" of the Solo Violin Sonata
Gyorgy Sandor is the author of the book "On Piano Playing", published by Schirmer Books. In1996 G. Sandor was awarded Honorary Doctorate at New York University