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Peter Nero


Born: May 22, 1934; Brooklyn, NY  
Peter Nero (born Bernard Nierow, 1934, Brooklyn) is a pianist and New York native who started with Paul Whiteman, then moved up to symphony until the early '60s, when RCA Victor signed him and successfully promoted him into a pop music interpreter. He won the 1961 Grammy for Best New Artist. His lush orchestrated albums continued through the early '70s, when he returned to a harder jazz format, recording with a trio.

Nierow began playing
Read more piano as child, learning the instrument quite rapidly; by the age of 11, he was playing Haydn concertos. However, he was restless and quickly grew tired of classical music, becoming infatuated with jazz as a teenager. In fact, after Nierow finished studying music at Brooklyn College, he became a jazz pianist. However, instead of playing straight jazz, he created a swinging hybrid of jazz and classical music.

Nierow didn't have much success as a performer, which meant he had to take a gig as a saloon pianist in a New York club called the Hickory House. Unsatisfied with the comprimises he was making at the club, he headed out to Las Vegas, where he didn't find much success. He returned to New York, taking a lesser job at the Hickory House. For several years, he played New York's club circuit before he came to the attention of Stan Greeson, an executive at RCA Records. Convinced that Nierow had star potential, Greeson signed the pianist and had him change his name to Peter Nero; he also persuaded Nero to add pop songs like "Over the Rainbow" to his repertoire.

Piano Forte, Peter Nero's first album, was released in 1961 and he began touring the country. That same year, he won the Grammy for Best New Artist. Nero's popularity continued to rise throughout the early '60s; his jazzy hybrid of pop, classical, swing, and bop became one of the most popular mainstream sounds of the era. Eventually, he became the musical director of the Philadelphia Pops Orchestra, where he frequently performed classical arrangements of pop songs. In the '70s, he returned to playing jazz in trios, though he still made orchestral records occasionally. Read less
Browse 1-3 of 3 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Peter Nero: Fantasy And Improvisations; Gershwin: Concerto In F; Nero Goes Pops
    Label: Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog: 4552 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Peter Nero
    Performer:  Peter Nero,  Pasquale Cardillo,  Bobby Rosengarden,  Joe Cusatis
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    CD: $21.99
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    CD:  $21.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 2.
    Gershwin - Greatest Hits
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60834 Release Date: 09/06/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin
    Performer:  Earl Wild,  George Duvivier,  Bobby Rosengarden,  Peter Nero
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
    CD: $8.99
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  • 3.
    The Golden Age Of Light Music: And At The Piano.
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 5229 Release Date: 08/03/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  James Francis McHugh,  Camillo Bargoni,  Richard Rodgers,  Evelyn Danzig  ... 
    Performer:  Skitch Henderson,  Russ Conway,  Carmen Cavallaro,  Peter Nero  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Collins,  Morris Stoloff,  Marty Gold,  Percy Faith  ... 
    CD: $16.99
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    CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart