Glllda, Fliedrich, remarkable Austrian pianist; b. Vienna, May 16, 1930; d. Weissenbach, Jan. 27, 2000. He began his training at the Grossmann Cons. After piano lessons with Felix Pazofsky (1938-42), he studied with Bruno Seidlhofer (piano) and Joseph Marx (composition) at the Vienna Academy of Music. At 14, he made his formal debut and at 16 won 1st prize at the Geneva Competition. Thereafter he pursued an outstanding international career. On Oct. 11, 1950, he made a brilliant U.S. debut at N.Y.’s Carnegie Hall. He was praised for his intellectual penetration of the music of Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. He also became intensely fascinated by jazz, particularly in its improvisatory aspect, which he construed as corresponding to the freedom of melodic ornamentation in Baroque music. In 1956 he made an acclaimed appearance at N.Y.’s Birdland. He often included jazz numbers (with drums and slap bass) at the end of his recitals; he learned to play the Saxophone, began to compose for jazz, and organized the Eurojazz Orch. As a further symptom of his estrangement from musical puritanism, he returned the 1970 Beethoven Bicentennial ring given to him by the Vienna Academy of Music in appreciation of his excellence in playing Beethoven’s music, noting the failure of conservative classical music training. He composed and performed jazz pieces, among them Music Nos. 1 and 2 for Piano and Big Band (1962, 1963), Music for 3 Jazz Soloists and Band (1962), Sym. in F for Jazz Band and Orch., The Veiled Old Land for Jazz Band (1964), The Excursion for Jazz Orch., celebrating the flight of the American spaceship Gemini 4 (1965), and Concertino for Players and Singers (1972). He made a bold arrangement of Vienna waltzes in the manner of the blues, and also composed a jazz musical, Drop-out oder Gustav der Letzte (1970), freely after Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. He publ. a book of essays, Worte zur Musik (Munich, 1971).
E. Jantsch, F. G.: Die Verantwortung des Interpreten (Vienna, 1953); K. Geitel, Fragen an F. G. (Berlin, 1973).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire