Alexis Weissenberg

Biography

Born: July 26, 1929; Sofia, Bulgaria   Died: January 8, 2012; Lugano, Switzerland  
If one wanted to make a biographical feature film about a classical musician, the life of the Bulgarian-American-French pianist Alexis Weissenberg would furnish ideal subject material. Born in Sofia in 1929, Weissenberg was taught to play the piano by his mother. Several members of her family were Vienna Conservatory-trained musicians, and Weissenberg grew up in an environment where the sight-reading of chamber music was as common as watching Read more television is for most children today. His second piano teacher was a disciplinarian dentist, his third Bulgaria's top composer and pedagogue, Pancho Vladigerov, at whose house Weissenberg heard Dinu Lipatti perform.

At age 10, Weissenberg gave his first recital, performing, among other works, an etude of his own composition. Shortly thereafter, Weissenberg and his mother attempted to flee Bulgaria for Turkey as fascist terror deepened. They were caught and thrown in a concentration camp. "Only three elements remained constant," Weissenberg recalled. "Silence, singing, and crying." What saved the pair was an accordion Weissenberg had been given as a gift by an aunt. A German guard who liked music let Weissenberg play and after three months put the Weissenbergs on a train to Istanbul, throwing the accordion into their compartment through an open window as they left.

They made their way to Turkey and then to Israel, where Weissenberg studied at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and performed with the Israel Philharmonic under the baton of Leonard Bernstein. He left his accordion with a group of children after playing an outdoor concert and departed for the U.S. in 1946. Weissenberg enrolled at the Juilliard School of Music, studying with Olga Samaroff and at times with Artur Schnabel, and making contact with Vladimir Horowitz, who urged Weissenberg to enter the Leventritt Award competition. Weissenberg won the award in 1947, and his career was launched. His U.S. debut came with the New York Philharmonic, conducted by George Szell, and for the next ten years he toured the U.S. and Europe.

In 1956 Weissenberg moved to Paris, eventually becoming a French citizen. For a decade beginning around that time, he took a hiatus from performing, subjecting himself to a reconstruction of his keyboard technique. His performances of Chopin, Rachmaninov, and Prokofiev were especially notable, and the Bach Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue was a staple of his recital programming. His recordings of the 1960s and 1970s remained well represented in reissues on the EMI label as of the early 2000s, and he remained active into old age. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 41 Available Recordings
1 2
  • 1.
    Seiji Ozawa: The Complete Warner Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564613951 Release Date: 05/26/2015   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Alexander Borodin,  Béla Bartók,  Zoltán Kodály  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Michel Béroff,  Masuko Ushioda  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris,  Japan Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
    On sale! $65.98
    CD: $54.49
    In Stock
    On sale!   $65.98   CD:  $54.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 2.
    111 - The Piano - Legendary Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002281002 Release Date: 04/21/2015   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Géza Anda,  Martha Argerich,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    CD: $168.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $168.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 3.
    Rachmaninov: The Complete Works
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002145102 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 32
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Franz Schubert,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  André Previn,  Peter Jablonski,  Mikhail Pletnev  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Kiril Kondrashin,  Stanislaw Wislocki  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Goldner String Quartet,  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $117.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $117.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 4.
    Karajan And His Soloists, Vol. 2 (1969-1984)
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633624 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Jules Massenet,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris
    CD: $69.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $69.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 5.
    Carlo Maria Giulini: The Concerto Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 31761 Release Date: 12/03/2013   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg,  Manoug Parikian,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Itzhak Perlman  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
    CD: $39.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $39.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 6.
    Ravel: Le Tombeau De Couperin; Schumann: Fantasie C-dur Op. 17; Mussorgsky: Bilder Einer Ausstelkung
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 869122 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg
    Recommendation
    CD: $39.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $39.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 7.
    The Baroque Collection
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 73420 Release Date: 10/22/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Giovanni Palestrina  ... 
    Performer:  Xavier Darasse,  Maurice André,  Guy Touvron,  Pierre Pierlot  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Auriacombe,  Jörg Faerber,  Jacques Roussel,  Raymond Leppard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Chamber Orchestra,  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra,  Antiqua Musica  ... 
    CD: $62.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $62.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 8.
    Fifty Shades Of Grey: The Classical Album
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 78466 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Johann Pachelbel,  Thomas Tallis,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Samson François,  Arleen Augér,  José Luis Garcia,  Peter Barley  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Yan Pascal Tortelier,  Stephen Cleobury  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cellos of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Cellos,  Les Violons du Roy
    CD: $15.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $15.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 9.
    The Sigi Recordings, 1949-1955
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 7987 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Carl Czerny,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg
    On sale! $38.98
    CD: $34.99
    Low Stock
    On sale!   $38.98   CD:  $34.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 10.
    Piano Recital 1972 / Alexis Weissenberg
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93710 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg
    CD: $18.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 11.
    Best Chopin 50
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 31666 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Stephen Kovacevich,  Ingrid Fliter,  Dmitri Alexeev,  Dinu Lipatti  ... 
    Conductor:  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski,  Paul Kletzki,  Charles Dutoit,  Jerzy Maksymiuk
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Society of the Conservatory Concerts Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $13.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $13.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 12.
    50 Best Piano
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 57540 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Claude Debussy,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Mikhail Pletnev,  André Watts,  Stanislav Bunin,  Moura Lympany  ... 
    Conductor:  Wayne Marshall,  Leonard Bernstein,  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  David Zinman  ... 
    CD: $13.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $13.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 13.
    Best Chopin 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 58513 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Garrick Ohlsson,  Danielle Laval,  Teresa Llacuna,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    Conductor:  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski,  Charles Dutoit,  Paul Kletzki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra,  Society of the Conservatory Concerts Orchestra,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $21.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $21.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 14.
    Franck: Symphony In D / Karajan, Orchestre De Paris
    Label: Emi Studio   Catalog: 69008 Release Date: 12/29/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  César Franck
    Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    Recommendation
    ArkivCD $17.99
    Special Order
    ArkivCD:  $17.99 Add to Cart

  • 15.
    Bartók: Concerto For Orchestra / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 38059 Release Date: 04/22/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
    Recommendation
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 16.
    Best Karajan 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 15206 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Nepomuk Hummel,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Bernard Walton,  Dennis Brain,  Lothar Koch,  Maurice André  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $18.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $18.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 17.
    Classic Aid Gala 1988
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 422379 Release Date: 09/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Henri Wieniawski,  Traditional,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Simon Estes,  Ingolf Turban,  James Galway,  Shirley Verrett  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Orchestra of France
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Special Order
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 18.
    Bach: Italienisches Konzert, Partiten 4 & 6 / Weissenberg
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 423592 Release Date: 05/13/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 19.
    Karajan In Concert
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001099209 Release Date: 05/13/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    Recommendation
    DVD: $43.99
    In Stock
    DVD:  $43.99 Add DVD to Cart

  • 20.
    Russian Classics - Stravinsky: The Firebird;  Et Al / Ozawa
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 69131 Release Date: 02/21/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Alexander Borodin,  Igor Stravinsky,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Victor Aitay,  Alexis Weissenberg
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris
    ArkivCD $33.99
    Special Order
    ArkivCD:  $33.99 Add to Cart

  • 21.
    Rachmaninov: Piano Sonatas Nos 1 & 2 / Weissenberg
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 427499 Release Date: 11/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg
    Recommendation
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 22.
    Scarlatti: Sonatas / Alexis Weissenberg
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 415511 Release Date: 11/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Domenico Scarlatti
    Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg
    Recommendation
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 23.
    The Premium Collection - 75 Classical Masterworks
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000988602 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Edvard Grieg,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Alfons Kontarsky,  Aloys Kontarsky,  Wolfgang Herzer,  Göran Söllscher  ... 
    Conductor:  Baumgartner,  Neeme Järvi,  Seiji Ozawa,  Rafael Kubelik  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lucerne Festival Strings
    On sale! $47.98
    CD: $45.49
    In Stock
    On sale!   $47.98   CD:  $45.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 24.
    Karajan Collection - Beethoven: Concertos / Weissenberg
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 841569 Release Date: 08/16/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    ArkivCD $17.99
    Special Order
    ArkivCD:  $17.99 Add to Cart

  • 25.
    Karajan Collection - Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 4, Triple Concerto / Weissenberg, Richter, Rostropovich, Oistrakh
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 4768862 Release Date: 08/16/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  David Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    Recommendation
    ArkivCD $17.99
    Special Order
    ArkivCD:  $17.99 Add to Cart

1 2