Another historic Cleveland Orchestra concert. This week featuring the legendary American pianist Grant Johannesen, along with Conductor Lorin Maazel in music of Ravel, De Falla, Milhaud, Debussy and Dukas.
Starting with Ravel’s Me Mere l’Oye – followed by Johannesen joining Maazel and the orchestra for performances of De Falla’s Nights in The Gardens Of Spain and the first Cleveland performance of Darius Milhaud’s Le Carnival d’Aix – followed by Debussy’s Iberia and ending with one of the slowest performances ever of Dukas’ L’apprenti sorcier.
It was recorded much earlier than the broadcast date, which was July 27, 1978, so if anyone has the correct date, I’m open to suggestions.
Grant Johannesen was born in Salt Lake City and discovered at the age of five by a teacher who lived across the street. He imitated whatever he heard her play, and she did not appreciate it.
He studied with Robert Casadesus, Egon Petri, Roger Sessions, and Nadia Boulanger. He made his Manhattan recital debut when he was 23, and won the Concours International when he was 28.
He toured extensively, both with the New York Philharmonic under Dmitri Mitropoulos, and as a solo performer. His performances in Moscow were especially well received. He was once encored 16 times.
He was known as an interpreter of French piano music and recorded the complete piano works of Gabriel Fauré.
He served as director of the Cleveland Institute of Music from 1974 to 1985. He was a frequent soloist with both the Cleveland Orchestra and the Utah Symphony.
He was a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of music degree from the Hartt School, University of Hartford in 1993.
Johannesen was married to the Juilliard-trained composer Helen Taylor (whose works for piano were among his recordings) from 1943 until her death in an automobile accident in 1950. He was married to his second wife, the cellist Zara Nelsova (with whom he sometimes performed), from 1963 until their divorce in 1973. From his first marriage, he had a son, David Johannesen.
He died in 2005 at the age of 83 in Germany, where he had been visiting friends.
Sit back and enjoy the concert.