Webster, Beveridge, respected American pianist and teacher; b. Pittsburgh, May 13, 1908; d. Hanover, N.H., June 30, 1999. He studied with his father, also named Beveridge Webster, the founder-director of the Pittsburgh Cons. In 1921 he was sent to Europe and pursued his training with Isidor Philipp and Nadia Boulanger at the Paris Cons., where he was the first American to graduate with the premier prix in piano in 1926. While in Paris, he was befriended by Ravel. He also was a student of Schnabel in Berlin. After touring Europe, he made his U.S. debut as soloist in the Mac-Dowell 2nd Piano Concerto with the N.Y. Phil. on Nov. 11, 1934. His Carnegie Hall recital debut in N.Y. followed on Nov. 30, 1934. In subsequent years, Webster appeared as a soloist with many U.S. orchs., gave recitals, and played in chamber music concerts. He taught at the New England Cons. of Music in Boston from 1940 to 1946 and then at the Juilliard School of Music in N.Y. from 1946 to 1990. Webster acquired a notable reputation for his insightful performances of the music of Debussy and Ravel. In 1968 he gave the first complete N.Y. cycle of Debussy’s piano music. He played all of Ravel’s solo piano music there in 1975. On Nov. 11, 1984, he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his U.S. debut in a N.Y. recital. He also was a champion of Schoenberg, Berg, Bartok, and Stravinsky, and of many American composers, among them Copland, Sessions, Harris, and Carter.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire