In-depth, biographical portraits of pre-eminent classical musicians and artists interviewed by…
Norman Lebrecht talks to the American born pianist Stephen Kovacevich in the year of his 70th birthday.
Originally from Los Angeles, Kovacevich's father was Croatian and his mother American. After studying with the Russian pianist Lev Schorr he won a scholarship which brought him to London where he met and studied with Dame Myra Hess. She helped him develop the sound he made at the keyboard. In 1961 he hired the Wigmore Hall and made an acclaimed debut in music by Berg, Bach and Beethoven: the Diabelli Variations. This was the real start of his career in public which continues to this day.
His recordings date back to the 1960s when he made acclaimed concerto recordings of the Beethoven and Bartok Concertos with Colin Davis and of Beethoven Cello Sonatas with Jacqueline Du Pre, both artists he admires greatly. More recently his latest recording of the Diabelli Variations has garnered praise.
He has mainly confined himself to the great Classical pianist composers, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms with occasional forays into the twentieth century though he's never played the music of Rachmaninov in public, the pianist he most admires.
Throughout his playing life Kovacevich has suffered badly from nerves and he talks frankly about this and the way his more recent conducting career has helped him to deal with them.
Producer Tony Cheevers.
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