Petri, Egon, eminent German pianist and pedagogue of Dutch descent; b. Hannover, March 23,1881; d. Berkeley, Calif., May 27,1962. His father, Henri Wilhelm Petri (1856–1914), was a Dutch violinist who served as concertmaster in Hannover and of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orch.; his mother was a singer. He studied violin and organ as well as piano from an early age; began piano lessons with Carreno, later studying with Buchmayer, Draeseke, and Busoni; also received composition lessons from Kretzchmar. Having pursued a career as an orch. violinist and as a member of his father’s string quartet, he launched his career as a piano virtuoso in 1902; subsequently toured extensively in Europe; was also active as a teacher, serving on the faculties of the Royal Manchester Coll. of Music (1905–11) and the Berlin Hochschule für Musik (1921–26); then taught in Zakopane. On Jan. 11,1932, he made his U.S. debut in N.Y., then performed on both sides of the Atlantic until the outbreak of World War II; also taught at Boston’s Malkin Cons. (1934–35). After World War II, he resumed his extensive tours. Having taught at Cornell Univ. (1940–46), he then settled in Calif, to teach at Mills Coll. in Oakland (1947–57) and at the San Francisco Cons, of Music (1952–62). He made his farewell concert appearance in a recital in 1960. As Busoni’s foremost student, he followed in his mentor’s grand manner of piano virtuosity. His performances of Bach and Liszt were formidable; he also championed the works of Alkan and Medtner as well as Busoni.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire