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Johannesen, Grant

Johannesen, Grant, eminent American pianist and pedagogue; b. Salt Lake City, July 30, 1921. He studied piano with Robert Casadesus at Princeton Univ. (1941-46) and with Egon Petri at Cornell Univ.; also took courses in composition with Sessions and Boulanger. He made his concert debut in N.Y. in 1944. In 1949 he won first prize at the Ostend Concours Internationale, which was the beginning of his international career. He toured Europe with Mitropoulos and the N.Y. Phil, in 1956 and 1957; made another European tour with Szell and the Cleveland Orch. in 1968. From 1960 to 1966 he taught at the Aspen (Colo.) Music School; in 1973 he became music consultant and adviser of the Cleveland Inst. of Music; subsequently was its music director (1974-77), and finally its president (1977-85). He also taught at the Mannes Coll. of Music in N.Y. and at the Salzburg Mozarteum. Johannesen acquired a reputation as a pianist of fine musicianly stature, subordinating his virtuoso technique to the higher considerations of intellectual fidelity to the composer’s intentions; he was particularly esteemed for his performances of French and American music. He also composed some piano works. He was married to Zara Nelsova from 1963 to 1973.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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