- Misha & Cipa
Now in the sixth decade of a distinguished global career, MISHA DICHTER remains one of America’s most popular artists, extending a musical heritage from the Russian Romantic School, as personified by Rosina Lhevinne, his mentor at The Juilliard School, and the German Classical style that was passed on to him by Aube Tzerko, a pupil of Artur Schnabel. He also studied composition and analysis with Leonard Stein, a disciple of Arnold Schoenberg.
Born in Shanghai to parents who had fled Poland at the outbreak of World War II, Misha Dichter and his family moved to Los Angeles when he was two; he began studying the piano at five. At the age of 20, while enrolled at the famed Juilliard School in New York City, he won the Silver Medal at the 1966 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, which helped launch an enviable concert career. Shortly thereafter, on August 14, 1966, Mr. Dichter was the guest soloist in a Tanglewood performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Erich Leinsdorf and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a concert that was broadcast nationally on NBC and subsequently recorded for RCA. Two years later, he made his New York Philharmonic debut under the baton of Leonard Bernstein, collaborating on the same concerto. Appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw Orchestra, the principal London orchestras and every major American orchestra soon followed.
Misha Dichter has performed and recorded with some of the most illustrious conductors of the 20th and 21st centuries, among them Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Colin Davis, Lawrence Foster, Valery Gergiev, Carlo Maria Guilini, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, Kiril Kondrashin, Erich Leinsdorf, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Neville Marriner, Kurt Masur, Riccardo Muti, Eugene Ormandy, Carlos Prieto, André Previn, Simon Rattle, Gerard Schwarz, Robert Shaw, Leonard Slatkin, Robert Spano, William Steinberg, Michael Tilson Thomas, Hans Vonk, Edo de Waart, David Zinman and Pinchas Zukerman, while notable chamber music collaborations have included violinists Itzhak Perlman, Mark Peskanov and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, cellists Lynn Harrell and Yo-Yo Ma and the American, Argus, Cleveland, Emerson, Guarneri, Harlem, St. Petersburg and Tokyo string quartets. With his wife, pianist Cipa Dichter, he has toured North America and Europe, presenting both masterworks and neglected scores of the two-piano and piano-four-hand repertoires. Mr. Dichter has been seen frequently on national television and was the subject of an hour-long European television documentary.
Misha Dichter’s discography on the Philips, RCA, MusicMasters and Koch Classics labels are legendary, iconic and musically omnivorous, encompassing the major scores of Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Gershwin, Liszt, Mussorgsky, Schubert, Schumann, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky. A noted exponent of Liszt’s piano works and a champion of the composer’s forward-looking contributions to the development of music, Mr. Dichter was honored in 1988 with the “Grand Prix International du Disque Liszt,” presented for his Philips recording of the master’s piano transcriptions. His first recording with Cipa Dichter is a three-CD set of Mozart’s complete piano works for four hands and is available on the Nimbus label. American Record Guide called the album “an unmitigated delight,” and Music Web International named it a 2005 “Record of the Year.”
In 2007, Misha Dichter took a three-month hiatus from the concert stage to deal with the onset of Dupuytren’s Disease, a contracting of one or more fingers. After totally successful surgery and physical therapy, Mr. Dichter returned to public performance and became a supporter of, and spokesperson for, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. A brief audio/video presentation, “Dupuytren’s Contracture: Misha Dichter - A Pianist Reborn,” is accessible on YouTube.
Misha Dichter is an accomplished writer, having contributed articles to many leading publications, including The New York Times. He is also a talented sketch artist, and in 2012 an e-book of his music-related illustrations, “A Pianist’s World in Drawings,” was released by Rosetta Books. Available on Amazon.com, BN.com and from iTunes, the e-book compiles over 50 original drawings that were created over the span of Mr. Dichter’s half-century career. (For more information, visit www.apianistsworldindrawings.com)
Fiercely dedicated to extending his artistic traditions to new generations of pianists, Misha Dichter conducts widely attended masterclasses at major conservatories, universities and music festivals, including Aspen, Curtis, Eastman, Harvard, Juilliard, Yale and Holland’s Conservatorium van Amsterdam.
Misha Dichter and his wife, Cipa Dichter, reside in New York City, in a household ruled over by Baxter, their amiable Springer Spaniel. They have two sons and five grandchildren. He remains an avid tennis player and jogger.
Concerto #3 (1945)
Concerto #1 in C, Op. 15
Concerto #2 in B-flat, Op. 19
Concerto #3 in c, Op. 37
Concerto #4 in G, Op. 58
Concerto #5 in E-flat, Op. 73 ("Emperor")
Concerto in C, Op. 56 ("Triple")
Fantasia in c, Op. 80 ("Choral Fantasy")
Symphony #2 ("Age of Anxiety")
Concerto #1 in d, Op. 15
Concerto #2 in B-flat, Op. 83
Concerto in F
Rhapsody in Blue
Concerto in a, Op. 16
Concerto #1 in E-flat
Concerto #17 in G, K. 453
Concerto #20 in d, K. 466
Concerto #21 in C, K. 467
Concerto #23 in A, K. 488
Concerto #2 in c, Op. 18
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43
BRAHMS: Concerto #1 in d, Op. 15
Kurt Masur/Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata #14 in c#, Op. 27, #2 (“Moonlight”)
PentaTone: PTC 5185 124
BRAHMS: Concerto #2 in B-flat, Op. 83
Kurt Masur/Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata #8 in c, Op. 13 (“Pathétique”)
PentaTone: PTC 5185 125
MOZART: The Complete Piano Works for Four Hands
with Cipa Dichter
Nimbus: NI 2537/9
“IGOR STRAVINSKY, Vol. 3”
Concerto for Piano & Wind Instruments
KOCH International Classics: 3-7470-2
“THE BEST OF LISZT”
Mephisto Waltz #1
Nimbus: NI 2578
André Previn/Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
2 Valses oubliées
MOUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition
GERSHWIN: Rhapsody in Blue
Neville Marriner/Philharmonia Orchestra
Philips: 411 123-2
“POPS BY GEORGE”
Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
LISZT: The 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies
Philips: 416 463-2
TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto #1 in b-flat, Op. 23
Erich Leinsdorf/Boston Symphony Orchestra
SCHUBERT: Sonata in A, Op. Posth., D. 959
Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety highlights Zinman’s Ravinia program [headline]
It was a pleasant surprise to see Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony no. 2 appear on Tuesday night’s CSO program at Ravinia. Titled The Age of Anxiety after its inspiration in W.H. Auden’s poem of the same title, Bernstein’s second symphony features a daunting part for solo piano, given a bracing account by Misha Dichter. In ‘The Masque,’ with its jazzy rhythms and good humor seemingly so out of place, Dichter’s speedy fingers played with a wonderful abandon. Dichter had one last shining moment in the muscular cadenza which obliquely suggests previously heard ideas, and in the work’s final moments, faith is introduced, glowing in its opulence. The Age of Anxiety is a staple of Dichter’s repertoire and he was undeniably impressive.
What a pleasure it was to work once again with Misha Dichter and to perform Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety with him and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I hope I will have many more opportunities to work together with this outstanding artist in the coming years.
DAVID ZINMAN, Ravinia Festival guest conductor
A ravishing performance. Mr. Dichter’s reading [Schubert Sonata in B-flat] was that of a flesh-and-blood poet, gently inflected, keenly felt, and executed with breathtaking polish from start to finish.
THE NEW YORK TIMES
In three of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies, Dichter could do no wrong. Here the pianist was clearly in his element–the virtuoso doing what he does best, dazzling on the high wire with only a rapt audience below.
THE WASHINGTON POST
RPO’s Bernstein Celebration [headline]
Dichter played beautifully, and piano and orchestra told the story [Bernstein Age of Anxiety] in a well-integrated fashion. Not surprising for a pianist who has been a favorite hear for decades in more traditional repertoire, Dichter seemed more comfortable with the music’s Brahmsian elements. The ‘Masque’ was exciting, however, Dichter played the piece’s reflective sections with sensitivity and exquisite tone. Overall this was an intelligent and effective account of a fascinating work.
ROCHESTER CITY NEWSPAPER (NY)
Mr. Dichter’s major offering was the middle of the last three sonatas of Schubert, the A major, D. 959. He is a ‘big view’ pianist, who I feel sometimes lets his viruosity run away with him when more contemplation would be nice. On the occasion, just when I was starting to get antsy, he would do something so angelic that it brought tears to my eyes. For example, the return of the lonely wanderer theme in the second movement was heart-stopping. He also handled the multiple remote-key visionary ‘farewells’ in the Rondo finale beautifully. The audience went wild. Mr. Dichter proved that he still owns the keyboard, and I wish him many more years of fruitful artistry.
NEW YORK CONCERT REVIEW
Misha Dichter’s performances with the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra were spell-binding. A true musician’s musician. Flawless technique, beautiful sound, soaring musical lines and a very thoughtful interpretation without the usual musical cliches. Simply put, his rendition of Gershwin’s Concerto in F was magnificent.
DR. LONNIE KLEIN, Music Director
Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra (NM)
To his virtuosity, Dichter adds his artistic maturity, a depth of musical awareness and strength of artistic vision.
Dichter’s right to the top place among American pianists was confirmed by everything he did in the Beethoven.
Symphony’s tribute to Leonard Bernstein is a festival high note [headline]
The Age of Anxiety was given a reading of comprehensive sympathy and enormous verve, adorned by Misha Dichter’s fluent piano solo.
THE SEATTLE TIMES
The guest soloist, the dashing pianist Misha Dichter, was an impressive ‘get’ for the Philharmonic, and the Romantic favorite [Grieg Piano Concerto] was an almost Olympian showcase for the impressive soloist.
LAS VEGAS SUN
The pianist commands a wide dynamic and emotional range, finds nuances as well as new insights in all the music he plays, and places his details carefully. Dichter’s tremendous authority at the keyboard is the result of a comprehensive technique combined with an astute musicality.
LOS ANGELES TIMES
Stupendous strength and brilliance; nothing was ever done just for the sake of effect. As an interpreter, Mr. Dichter combined romantic fervor with princely self-discipline.
THE TIMES (London)
It would be hard to imagine a more thrilling concert than the one that featured one of the world’s most distinguished pianists, Misha Dichter, performing one of Beethoven’s great keyboard calling cards, the Piano Concerto No. 3. His interpretation was revelatory. Far too many pianists view this piece as a dark, melodramatic dazzler, but Dichter emphasized the work’s most endearing lyrical qualities, saving his fireworks for the appropriate places, the first movement cadenza and the finale.
DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE (Rochester, NY)
Not less convincing and enthralling was the passionate interpretive enthusiasm in the Quintet in E-flat of Schumann, a confrontation of strings with brilliant incisiveness of accents over the exuberant dynamism of Misha Dichter at the piano. A sensational success, and a well deserved approval from the public.
CORRIERE DELLA SERA (Italy)
One of the finest pianists of his generation–or of about any generation, for that matter
THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR
As his name suggests (Dichter is German for poet), the pianist’s performance was poetry from beginning to end. Dichter was sensitive to balance but was not shy when the music called for lyrical strengthor technical brilliance.
THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
He made a dignified soloist in the Bartok [Concerto #3], playing with clean execution, luminous clarity and decorous reserve.
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Piano Master Misha Dichter Astounds at Boston Conservatory [headline]
La lugubre gondola No. 2, of Liszt, 15 Hungarian Peasant Songs of Bartók, and a Scriabin encore completed Dichter’s awe-evoking recital in Boston, his first after a 15-year absence. Who would have ever dreamed that this master of the piano had had a serious bout with Dupuytren’s Disease, undergone surgery in recent years, only to rebound and play as he did, delivering a rock-solid, brilliantly bold and down-to-earth performance of some of the most difficult piano pieces in existence?
THE BOSTON MUSIC INTELLIGENCER
MUSIC MOUNTAIN (Falls Village, CT)
Brahms: 2 Ballades
ADIRONDACK LAKES CENTER FOR THE ARTS (Blue Mountain Lake, NY)
Brahms: 2 Ballades
TREETOPS CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY
Carriage Barn Arts Center (New Canaan, CT)
Brahms: 2 Ballades
POWAY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (CA)
John LoPiccolo, conductor
Beethoven: Piano Concerto #5
VISTA PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Bruce Hangen, conductor
Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
PALM BEACH SYMPHONY (West Palm Beach, FL)
Gerard Schwarz, conductor
Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F
PALM BEACH SYMPHONY
Gerard Schwarz, conductor
Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F