Misha Dichter
pianist
  • Biography
  • Repertoire
  • Discography
  • Reviews
  • Itinerary
  • Media
John Novacek

Entering 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 after, 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. In 1968, 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, 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 Amazon.com ebook)

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.

www.mishadichter.com

BARTÓK

Concerto #3 (1945)

BEETHOVEN

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")
Fantasia in c, Op. 80 ("Choral Fantasy")

BERNSTEIN

Symphony #2 ("Age of Anxiety")

BRAHMS

Concerto #1 in d, Op. 15
Concerto #2 in B-flat, Op. 83

GERSHWIN

Concerto in F
Rhapsody in Blue

GRIEG

Concerto in a, Op. 16

LISZT

Concerto #1 in E-flat
Concerto #2 in A

MOZART

Concerto #17 in G, K. 453
Concerto #20 in d, K. 466
Concerto #21 in C, K. 467
Concerto #23 in A, K. 488

RACHMANINOFF

Concerto #2 in c, Op. 18
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43

TCHAIKOVSKY

Concerto #1 in b-flat, Op. 23

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
Robert Craft, conductor

KOCH International Classics: 3-7470-2

“THE BEST OF LISZT”

Mephisto Waltz #1
Die Loreley
Hungarian Rhapsodies #2, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
after Schubert: Schwanengegang (#1: “Liebesbotschaft”)
Années de pèlerinage: 1e annèe: Suisse (“Au bord d’une source”)
Études de concert (“Un sospiro” and “La leggierezza”)
Liebestraum #3 in A-flat
Études d’exécution transcendante d’après Paganini (“La campanella”)
Années de pèlerinage: 3ème année (“Les jeux d’eau à la Villa d’Este”)
after Gounod: La valse de l’opéra Faust
2 Valses oubliées
Années de pèlerinage: 1e annèe: Suisse (“Vallée d’Obermann”)
Années de pèlerinage: 1e annèe: Suisse (“Eglogue”)
after Schumann: Widmung

Philips: 446-554-2

BRAHMS:
16 Waltzes, Op. 39
Fantasies, Op. 116
Variations & Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24

Nimbus: NI 2578

LISZT:
Piano Concerto #1 in E-flat
Piano Concerto #2 in A

André Previn/Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

2 Valses oubliées
Vallée d’Obermann

Philips: 420896-2

MOUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition

Philips: 420708-2

GERSHWIN: Rhapsody in Blue
ADDINSELL: Warsaw Concerto
LITOLFF: Concerto Symphonique #4 in d, Op. 102
CHOPIN: Fantasy on Polish Airs, Op. 13
WEBER/LISZT: Polonaise brillante

Neville Marriner/Philharmonia Orchestra

Philips: 411 123-2

“POPS BY GEORGE”

Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
John Williams/Boston Pops

Philips: 4264004-2

BEETHOVEN:
Piano Sonata #14 in c#, Op. 27, #2 (“Moonlight”)
Piano Sonata #8 in c, Op. 13 (“Pathétique”)
Piano Sonata #28 in A, Op. 101

Philips: 422-475-2

LISZT: The 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies

Philips: 416 463-2

TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto #1 in b-flat, Op. 23

Erich Leinsdorf/Boston Symphony Orchestra

RCA: 420708-2

SCHUBERT: Sonata in A, Op. Posth., D. 959
BEETHOVEN: Andante favori in F, WoO 57

RCA: LSC-3124

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.

BACKTRACK.COM

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


To his virtuosity, Dichter adds his artistic maturity, a depth of musical awareness and strength of artistic vision.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

Dichter’s right to the top place among American pianists was confirmed by everything he did in the Beethoven.

MONTREAL GAZETTE

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

7/23/2016 (6pm)

ASPEN MUSIC FESTIVAL (CO)

Harris Concert Hall

Duo-Recital with Cipa Dichter, pianist
Schubert: Divertissement à l’hongroise
Dvorák: Slavonic Dances, Op. 46
Brahms: 5 Hungarian Dances
Infante: 3 Danzas andaluzas

8/9/2016 (8pm)

RAVINIA FESTIVAL (Highland Park, IL)

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
David Zinman Conductor
Ravinia Pavilion

Bernstein: Symphony #2, Age of Anxiety

3/22/2017 (8pm)

BEDFORD CHAMBER CONCERTS (NY)

Fellowship Hall, Parish House, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church

Duo-Recital with Cipa Dichter, pianist
Schubert: Fantasie in f
Rachmaninoff: 6 Duets
Mozart: Piano Sonata in F, K. 497
Brahms: 5 Hungarian Dances

5/6/2017 (3pm)

MERRILL AREA CONCERT ASSOCIATION (WI)

Merrill High School Auditorium

Duo-Recital with Cipa Dichter, pianist
Schubert: Fantasie in f
Rachmaninoff: 6 Duets
Mozart: Piano Sonata in F, K. 497
Brahms: 5 Hungarian Dances

6/4/2017 (2pm)

CMAK SANDY HOOK MEMORIAL FOUNDATION

Palace Theater (Waterbury, CT)

Saint-Saëns: Carnival of the Animals
with Cipa Dichter, pianist
Carter Brey, cellist
members of the New York Philharmonic

8/12/2017 (8pm)

SKANEATELES FESTIVAL (NY)

David Zinman, conductor
Robinson Pavilion at Anyela’s Vineyards

Mozart: Piano Concerto #21

9/20/2017 (8pm)

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

David Itkin, conductor
Margot & Bill Winspear Performance Hall (Denton)

Bernstein: Symphony #2, Age of Anxiety

9/21/2017 (8pm)

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

David Itkin, conductor
Dallas City Performance Hall

Bernstein: Symphony #2, Age of Anxiety

10/7/2017 (7:30pm)
10/8/2017 (3pm)

LAS CRUCES SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (NM)

Lonnie Klein, Conductor
NMSU Performance Center

Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F

1/20/2018 (7pm)

EVANSVILLE PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA (IN)

Alfred Savia, Conductor
The Victory Theatre

Mozart: Concerto #10 for 2 Pianos
SSaint-Saëns: Carnival of the Animals
with Cipa Dichter, pianist

3/1/2018 (7:30pm)
3/3/2018 (8pm)

ROCHESTER PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA (NY)

Ward Stare, conductor
Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre

Bernstein: Symphony #2, Age of Anxiety

3/16/2018 (7:30pm)

ONEONTA CONCERT ASSOCIATION (NY)

First United Methodist Church

 

3/24/2018 (7:30pm)

SPRINGFIELD SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (OH)

Peter Stafford Wilson, conductor
Kuss Auditorium, Clark State Community College PAC

Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F

4/7/2018 (8pm)

DEUTSCHES SYMPHONIE-ORCHESTER BERLIN (Germany)

David Zinman, conductor
Großer Saal, Berliner Philharmonie

Bernstein: Symphony #2, Age of Anxiety

5/19/2018 (7:30pm)

SPRINGFIELD SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (MA)

Kevin Rhodes, conductor
Symphony Hall

Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

Brahms: Piano Quintet in f, Op. 34 [beginning at 42:20]
St. Petersburg String Quartet
Music Mountain (Falls Village, CT)
June 17, 2012

Schumann: Piano Quintet in E-flat, Op. 44

Harlem String Quartet
Music Mountain (Falls Village, CT)
June 19, 2011

Bernstein: Symphony #2, “Age of Anxiety” (The Masque) – audio only

Gerard Schwarz, conductor
2010

Prokofiev: Piano Sonata #7 in B-flat, Op. 83 (mvt. III: Precipitato)
film by Stanley Donen, 1999

 

Chopin: Fantasy on Polish Airs, Op. 13 – audio only

Neville Marriner/Philharmonic Orchestra
studio recording (Philips) 1983

Schumann/Liszt: Widmung – audio only

studio recording (Philips) 1980

 

“Dupuytren’s Contracture: Misha Dichter - A Pianist Reborn”

November, 2008