Kovacevich, Stephen, distinguished American pianist and conductor; b. Los Angeles, Oct. 17, 1940. He began his piano studies with Lev Schorr in 1948, and in 1951 made his public debut in San Francisco under the name Stephen Bishop. In 1959 he went to London to pursue his piano training with Dame Myra Hess. After making his London recital debut in 1961, he appeared as a soloist with many of the major European and North American orchs., as a recitalist, and as a chamber music artist. In 1975 he began to use the name Stephen Bishop-Kovacevich, and finally assumed his original name Stephen Kovacevich in 1991. In 1984 he made his conducting debut with the Houston Sym. Orch., and thereafter pursued a dual career as a pianist and conductor. In 1986 he was appointed to an international chair at the Royal Academy of Music in London. From 1990 to 1993 he was music director of the Irish Chamber Orch. in Dublin. His wife is Martha Argerich. As a pianist, Kovacevich has demonstrated an extraordinary command of an expansive repertoire, ranging from the classics to contemporary scores. As a conductor, he has concentrated on works from the 18th and 19th centuries to good effect.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire