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 51-69 of 69 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    The Very Best Of Montserrat Caballé
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 75891 Release Date: 04/22/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Puccini,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Xavier Montsalvatge  ... 
    Performer:  Montserrat Caballé,  Flora Rafanelli,  Matteo Manuguerra,  Agostino Ferrin  ... 
    Conductor:  Lamberto Gardelli,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Riccardo Muti,  Gianandrea Gavazzeni  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome  ... 
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  • 52.
    Chopin: Piano Concertos 1 & 2 / Weissenberg, Skrowaczewski
    Label: Emi Classics Encore   Catalog: 74959 Release Date: 03/25/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg
    Conductor:  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
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  • 53.
    Brahms: Violin Sonatas / Mutter, Weissenberg
    Label: Emi Classics Encore   Catalog: 74725 Release Date: 01/07/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Alexis Weissenberg
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  • 54.
    The #1 Piano Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 472589 Release Date: 11/12/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  George Gershwin,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Olli Mustonen,  Werner Haas,  Martha Argerich,  Zoltán Kocsis  ... 
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  • 55.
    Saint-Saens: Symphony no 3, Carnival; Poulenc / Pretre, Durufle, Ciccolini
    Label: Emi Classics Encore   Catalog: 74753 Release Date: 08/13/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francis Poulenc,  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg,  Aldo Ciccolini,  Maurice Duruflé
    Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
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  • 56.
    Essential Debussy - 26 Of His Greatest Masterpieces
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 472404 Release Date: 07/16/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Doriot Dwyer,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Jean-Yves Thibaudet,  Alexis Weissenberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Herbert von Karajan,  Charles Dutoit,  Pierre Boulez  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 57.
    Rachmaninoff For Relaxation / Ormandy, Janis, Starker, Et Al
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63799 Release Date: 06/19/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Mikhail Kazakevich,  Dmitri Alexeev,  Alexis Weissenberg,  János Starker  ... 
    Conductor:  Yuri Temirkanov,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Fritz Reiner,  Leopold Stokowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 58.
    Fur Elise - Romantic Piano Pieces / Kempff, Ugorski, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 469632 Release Date: 03/27/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Franz Liszt,  Frédéric Chopin,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Andrei Gavrilov,  Anatol Ugorski,  Tamás Vásáry,  Wilhelm Kempff  ... 
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  • 59.
    Best Of The Millennium - Top 40 Classical Hits
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 463240 Release Date: 02/08/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Richard Wagner,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Michel Schwalbé,  Cheryl Studer,  Mischa Maisky,  Yuli Reyentovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Norman Del Mar,  Daniel Barenboim,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 60.
    Debussy, Ravel: String Quartets, Clair De Lune / Guarneri
    Label: Rca Victrola   Catalog: 60909 Release Date: 07/13/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Guarneri String Quartet
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  • 61.
    Brahms: Violin Sonatas No 1-3 / Mutter, Weissenberg
    Label: Emi Classics Red Line   Catalog: 72093 Release Date: 04/07/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Alexis Weissenberg
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  • 62.
    Rachmaninoff - Greatest Hits
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 68788 Release Date: 04/15/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Leonard Pennario,  Kathryn Stott,  Byron Janis,  Alexis Weissenberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler,  Charles Munch,  Eugene Ormandy,  Leopold Stokowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 63.
    Clair De Lune - Debussy: Piano Works / Alexis Weissenberg
    Label: Dg Masters   Catalog: 445547 Release Date: 06/13/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Alexis Weissenberg
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  • 64.
    Mad About Mad About
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 445900 Release Date: 09/20/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Sting,  David Jolley,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Herbert von Karajan,  Neeme Järvi,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 65.
    Mad About Romantic Piano
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 445771 Release Date: 09/20/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Rudolf Serkin,  Lilya Zilberstein,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Andrei Gavrilov  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Herbert von Karajan,  André Previn,  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 66.
    Mad About Movies
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 439514 Release Date: 08/10/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Edvard Grieg,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Rudolf Serkin,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Luciano Pavarotti,  William Purvis  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Claudio Abbado,  Neeme Järvi,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 67.
    Mad About Piano
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 439520 Release Date: 08/10/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Claude Debussy,  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Evgeni Kissin,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Stanislav Bunin,  Jean-Marc Luisada  ... 
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  • 68.
    The Best Of Saint-saëns
    Label: Emi Studio   Catalog: 69112 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Nathan Milstein,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Aldo Ciccolini  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Dervaux,  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Georges Prêtre,  Walter Susskind
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Paris Opera Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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1 2 3

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
WORKS ALBUMS
TITLE/COMPOSER
LABEL
Prelude and fugue in A Minor BWV.543: Prelude
Prelude and fugue in A Minor BWV.543: Fugue
Toccata et Fugue en ré mineur BWV.565 (transcription pour piano de F.B. Busoni) : Toccata
Toccata et Fugue en ré mineur BWV.565 (transcription pour piano de F.B. Busoni) : Fugue
Piano Concerto No. 1, Op.23 (2004 - Remaster): I. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso
Piano Concerto No. 1, Op.23 (2004 - Remaster): II. Andantino semplice - Prestissimo - Tempo primo
Piano Concerto No. 1, Op.23 (2004 - Remaster): III. Allegro con fuoco
Le Carnaval des animaux, grande fantaisie zoologique : Introduction et marche royale du lion
Le Carnaval des animaux, grande fantaisie zoologique : Poules et coqs - Hémiones
Le Carnaval des animaux, grande fantaisie zoologique : Tortues - L'éléphant - Kangourous
Le Carnaval des animaux, grande fantaisie zoologique : Aquarium
Le Carnaval des animaux, grande fantaisie zoologique : Personnages à longues oreilles - Le coucou au fond des bois
Le Carnaval des animaux, grande fantaisie zoologique : Volière
Le Carnaval des animaux, grande fantaisie zoologique : Pianistes - Fossiles
Le Carnaval des animaux, grande fantaisie zoologique : Le cygne
Le Carnaval des animaux, grande fantaisie zoologique : Final
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 4 in G Op. 58 (1996 Digital Remaster): II. Andante con moto
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 4 in G Op. 58 (1996 Digital Remaster): III. Rondo (Vivace)
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 5, 'Emperor' Op. 73 (1996 Digital Remaster): Adagio un poco mosso
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 5, 'Emperor' Op. 73 (1996 Digital Remaster): Rondo (Allegro)
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor Op. 11: I. Allegro maestoso risoluto
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor Op. 11: II. Romanze (Larghetto)
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor Op. 11: III. Rondo (Vivace)
Variations in B flat on 'Là ci darem' (Mozart's Don Giovanni) Op. 2 (1992 Digital Remaster): Introduzione (Largo)
Variations in B flat on 'Là ci darem' (Mozart's Don Giovanni) Op. 2 (1992 Digital Remaster): Theme (Allegretto)
Variations in B flat on 'Là ci darem' (Mozart's Don Giovanni) Op. 2 (1992 Digital Remaster): Variation I (Brillante)
Variations in B flat on 'Là ci darem' (Mozart's Don Giovanni) Op. 2 (1992 Digital Remaster): Variation II (Veloce, accuramente)
Variations in B flat on 'Là ci darem' (Mozart's Don Giovanni) Op. 2 (1992 Digital Remaster): Variation III (Sempre sostenuto)
Variations in B flat on 'Là ci darem' (Mozart's Don Giovanni) Op. 2 (1992 Digital Remaster): Variation IV (Con bravura)
Variations in B flat on 'Là ci darem' (Mozart's Don Giovanni) Op. 2 (1992 Digital Remaster): Variation V (Adagio)
Variations in B flat on 'Là ci darem' (Mozart's Don Giovanni) Op. 2 (1992 Digital Remaster): Alla polacca
Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise in E flat major Op. 22 (1992 Digital Remaster): Andante spianato
Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise in E flat major Op. 22 (1992 Digital Remaster): Grande polonaise
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor Op. 21: I. Maestoso
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor Op. 21: II. Larghetto
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor Op. 21: III. Allegro vivace
Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor 'Funeral March' Op. 35: I. Grave - Doppio movimento
Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor 'Funeral March' Op. 35: II. Scherzo
Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor 'Funeral March' Op. 35: III. Marche funèbre (Lento)
Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor 'Funeral March' Op. 35: IV. Finale (Presto)
Piano Sonata No.3 in B minor Op.58: Allegro maestoso
Piano Sonata No.3 in B minor Op.58: Scherzo (Molto vivace)
Piano Sonata No.3 in B minor Op.58: Largo
Piano Sonata No.3 in B minor Op.58: Finale (Presto non tanto)
Debussy: Suite bergamasque, L.75 - 3. Clair de lune
Debussy: Suite bergamasque, L.75 - 3. Clair de lune
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G, Op.58 (1996 - Remaster): I. Allegro moderato
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G, Op.58 (1996 - Remaster): II. Andante con moto
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G, Op.58 (1996 - Remaster): III. Rondo (Vivace)
Piano Concerto No.3 in C Minor Op.37 (1996 - Remaster): I. Allegro con brio
Piano Concerto No.3 in C Minor Op.37 (1996 - Remaster): II. Largo
Piano Concerto No.3 in C Minor Op.37 (1996 - Remaster): III. Rondo (Allegro - Presto)
Piano Concerto No. 5, Op.73 'Emperor' (1996 - Remaster): I. Allegro
Piano Concerto No. 5, Op.73 'Emperor' (1996 - Remaster): II. Adagio un poco mosso
Piano Concerto No. 5, Op.73 'Emperor' (1996 - Remaster): III. Rondo (Allegro)
Piano Concerto No. 1, Op.23 (2004 - Remaster): I. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso
Piano Concerto No. 1, Op.23 (2004 - Remaster): II. Andantino semplice - Prestissimo - Tempo primo
Piano Concerto No. 1, Op.23 (2004 - Remaster): III. Allegro con fuoco
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op.18 (2004 - Remaster): I. Moderato
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op.18 (2004 - Remaster): II. Adagio sostenuto
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op.18 (2004 - Remaster): III. Allegro scherzando
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Aria
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 1
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 2
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 3 - Canone all'unisono
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 4
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 5
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 6 - Canone alla seconda
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 7 - Al tempo di giga
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 8
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 9 - Canone alla terza
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 10 - Fughetta
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 11
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 12 - Canone alla quarta
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 13
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 14
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 15 - Canone alla quinta: Andante
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 16 - Ouverture
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 17
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 18 - Canone alla sesta
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 19
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 20
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 21 - Canone alla settima
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 22 - Alla breve
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 23
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 24 - Canone all'ottava
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 25 - Adagio
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 26
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 27 - Canone alla nona
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 28
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 29
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Variation 30 - Quodlibet
Goldberg Variations BWV988: Aria
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor Op. 11: I. Allegro maestoso risoluto
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor Op. 11: II. Romanze (Larghetto)
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor Op. 11: III. Rondo (Vivace)
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor Op. 21: I. Maestoso
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor Op. 21: II. Larghetto
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor Op. 21: III. Allegro vivace
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 in G Major, Op. 78: I. Vivace ma non troppo
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 in G Major, Op. 78: II. Adagio
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 in G Major, Op. 78: III. Allegro molto moderato