The celebrated pianist Gary Graffman has been a major figure in the music world since winning the prestigious Leventritt Award in 1949. For the next three decades he toured almost continuously, playing the most demanding works in the piano literature both in recital and with the world’s great orchestras. He also made a series of highly acclaimed recordings for Columbia (CBS) and RCA, including concertos by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Brahms, Chopin and Beethoven with the orchestras of New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago and Boston, and with such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, Eugene Ormandy and George Szell.
In 1979, however, Mr. Graffman’s performing career was curtailed by an injury to his right hand. His performances are now limited to the small but brilliant repertoire of concertos written for the left hand alone, most of them commissioned early in the century by Paul Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm in World War I. In addition to the famous Ravel Concerto, these include major works by Prokofiev, Britten, Richard Strauss, Franz Schmidt and Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Mr. Graffman played the North American premiere of the latter concerto, written in 1924, with Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic in 1985 and has recorded the Strauss “Parergon” for Deutsche Grammophon with the Vienna Philharmonic led by André Previn ... read full bio