Lerner, Bennett, American pianist; b. Cambridge, Mass., March 21, 1944. He was a piano student of Claudio Arrau, Rafael de Silva, German Diez, Sascha Gorodnitski, and Robert Helps; attended Columbia Univ. and the Manhattan School of Music (B.Mus., 1973; M.Mus., 1975); also profited from a close association with Copland, Thomson, and Bowles, whose music he came to champion. He taught at the Manhattan School of Music (1972–82), the Greenwich House Music School (from 1979), Sarah Lawrence Coll. (1983–84), and Brooklyn Coll/s Cons, of Music (from 1987). He appeared as a soloist with the Boston Pops Orch. (1966–68); in 1976 he made his Carnegie Recital Hall debut. On Nov. 14, 1985, he gained national recognition when he appeared as soloist in Copland’s Piano Concerto with Mehta and the N.Y. Phil.; the concert, marking Copland’s 85th birthday, was telecast live to the nation by PBS. In 1987 Lerner gave a 4-hour marathon recital at N.Y/s 92nd St. Y in which he performed premieres of works by Thomson, Harris, Barber, Diamond et al. On Feb. 4, 1988, he was the featured performer at Vittorio Rieti’s 90th-birthday concert in N.Y., where he was soloist in Rieti’s Enharmonic Variations for Piano and Orch., a score written especially for him. While Lerner has played much contemporary music, he has also programmed a number of neglected works from the past.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire