Julius Katchen

Biography

Born: August 15, 1926; Long Beach, NJ   Died: May 29, 1969; Paris, France  
A child prodigy of startling promise, Julius Katchen matured into a solo and chamber music pianist of broad interests and probing artistry. His death from cancer at age 42 denied a discerning public the presence of a pianist especially well-equipped to penetrate to the center-most meanings of those works he favored.

Born to a musical family, Katchen was instructed in the musical arts from his earliest years. His grandmother, formerly a
Read more faculty member at the Warsaw Conservatory, was his first piano instructor, while his grandfather taught him theory (his mother, a pianist, had trained at the Fontainebleau School of Music and had made concert appearances in both Europe and America). In 1937, Katchen presented himself to Eugene Ormandy and requested that he be permitted to play for him. Ormandy was sufficiently impressed to engage the lad for an appearance with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The October 21, 1937, concert found Katchen performing Mozart's Concerto in D minor to high praise. Following this glowing reception, the 11-year-old pianist was invited to perform at a pension fund concert with the New York Philharmonic the following month. Critic Lawrence Gilman was moved to recall the debut of Josef Hofmann as a prodigy a half century before. "His fingers are fleet, his conceptions clear and intelligent," wrote Gilman of Katchen. "He has a musicianly feeling for the contour and flow and rhythm of a phrase and a sense of what is meant by Mozartean style." A New York recital a year later brought even more enthusiastic praise for the youth's musical understanding.

Before his career advanced, however, Katchen's parents chose to place a hold on further public appearances and enroll him instead at Haverford College, where he majored in philosophy and English literature. His break, Katchen often insisted, developed in him the intellectual curiosity that fed his interest in the more mentally challenging works in the repertory.

A fellowship extended by the French government permitted Katchen to travel to Paris in 1946; that cosmopolitan city became his home for the remainder of his life and he lost no time in making himself a formidable presence there and in the rest of Europe, respected for his commanding interpretive thoughtfulness and virtuoso technique. He undertook several highly successful tours of the Continent, winning acclaim in each center he visited. Decca Records signed him to an exclusive contract and he began recording a bracing cross-section of the repertory with Brahms always at the core. He presented concert performances of Brahms' complete solo piano works in New York, London, Amsterdam, Vienna, and Berlin and was heard with major orchestras in the two piano concertos. In addition to solo appearances, Katchen often took part in chamber music performances, again concentrating on Brahms, but certainly not neglecting other aspects of an extensive personal repertory. Ned Rorem and Benjamin Britten were just two contemporary composers to benefit from Katchen's advocacy. To say, as some have, that Katchen never achieved the success in America that was his in Europe fails to account for the far greater portion of his mature years that were spent on the Continent where other cultural stimulations prompted his most involved and productive work. Katchen was also acutely aware of the need to extend the exposure of classical music well beyond its existing ranks -- on December 11, 1968, he was one of! a large group of musicians, all but one of them from the rock and blues fields, to perform as part of the Rolling Stones' Rock & Roll Circus, and a segment that was introduced by Brian Jones, no less; alas, due to production and post-production problems, no one got to see any part of Katchen's performance until over three decades later; the pianist himself, terminally ill with cancer, didn't live another six months after this extraordinary event. His tragic death was keenly felt on both sides of the Atlantic. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 50 Available Recordings
1 2
  • 1.
    Istvan Kertesz: The London Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002033602 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Walter Berry,  Christa Ludwig,  Pilar Lorengar,  Erzsébet Komlossy  ... 
    Conductor:  István Kertész
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  Brighton Festival Chorus  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $104.49
    In Stock
    CD:  $104.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 2.
    100 Hits: Classical Greats
    Label: 100 Hits   Catalog: 1017490 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Myra Hess,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Geraint Jones,  Karl Münchinger,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Myra Hess  ... 
    Conductor:  Geraint Jones,  Karl Münchinger,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Leopold Stokowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici,  Members of the Vienna Octet (Members)
    On sale! $38.99
    Import CD
    $34.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $38.99   CD:  $34.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 3.
    Decca Sound - The Analogue Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001934702 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 54
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Anton Bruckner,  Arnold Schoenberg,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Pascal Rogé,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Marilyn Horne,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Sir Georg Solti,  Bernard Haitink,  Horst Stein  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $169.98
    CD: $148.49
    In Stock
    On sale!   $169.98   CD:  $148.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 4.
    Great Pianists - Legendary Recordings from Arrau, Cherkassky, Cziffra, Gilels, Katchen
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5114 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels,  Claudio Arrau,  Julius Katchen,  György Cziffra  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Christoph von Dohnányi,  Otto Klemperer,  Rudolf Kempe  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $44.49
    In Stock
    CD:  $44.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 5.
    Britten: Piano Concerto; Diversions; Sinfonia Da Requiem
    Label: Heritage   Catalog: 244 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Jacques Abram,  Julius Katchen
    Conductor:  Herbert Menges,  Benjamin Britten
    CD: $12.49
    Low Stock
    CD:  $12.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 6.
    Brahms: Piano Concerto No 1; Chopin: Ballade No  3; Liszt / Katchen
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5048 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Julius Katchen
    Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 7.
    The Decca Sound - Highlights [5-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001620002 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Béla Bartók,  Benjamin Britten,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Montserrat Caballé,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Renata Tebaldi  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Franco Capuana,  István Kertész,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir,  Wandsworth School Boys' Choir  ... 
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $19.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 8.
    The Decca Sound [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619902 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alfredo Campoli,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $175.49
    Special Order
    CD:  $175.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 9.
    Mozart: Piano Concertos 13 & 20, German Dances K 509 / Katchen, Maag
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4803609 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Julius Katchen
    Conductor:  Peter Maag
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Symphony Orchestra of London,  London Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
    Import CD
    $12.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $12.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 10.
    The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra 70th Anniversary - Essential Recordings [12-CD Set]
    Label: Helicon   Catalog: 9614 Release Date: 12/07/2010   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Schubert,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Shlomo Mintz,  Julius Katchen,  Artur Rubinstein,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Kletzki,  Josef Krips,  Sir Georg Solti,  Jean Martinon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ankor Children's Chorus,  Israel Philharmonia Singers
    On sale! $99.98
    CD: $72.99
    Low Stock
    On sale!   $99.98   CD:  $72.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 11.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4; Cello Sonata No. 5 & 32 Variations In C Minor; Bach: Partita
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 7936 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Julius Katchen,  Pablo Casals
    Conductor:  Eugen Jochum
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $18.98   CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 12.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 202 Release Date: 07/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ned Rorem
    Performer:  Regina Sarfaty,  Ned Rorem,  Julius Katchen
    CD: $13.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $13.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 13.
    Brahms: Piano Trio, Cello Sonata / Starker, Katchen, Suk
    Label: London/Decca Chamber Mus Series   Catalog: 425423 Release Date: 06/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  János Starker,  Julius Katchen,  Josef Suk
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 14.
    Mozart: Piano Concertos No 21 & 20 / Vered, Katchen, Foster, Munchinger
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 425506 Release Date: 06/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Ilana Vered,  Julius Katchen
    Conductor:  Lawrence Foster,  Karl Münchinger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
    In Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 15.
    Stravinsky: The Firebird, Petrouchka / Pierre Monteux
    Label: London/Decca Weekend Classics   Catalog: 421635 Release Date: 04/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
    Performer:  Julius Katchen
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 16.
    Piano Masterworks - The World's Favourite Piano Classics - Bach, Debussy, Etc / Argerich, Arrau, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: B001206502 Release Date: 12/16/2009   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  András Schiff,  Andrei Gavrilov,  Friedrich Gulda,  Wilhelm Kempff  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Eliahu Inbal,  Horst Stein,  Zubin Mehta  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $79.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 17.
    Heritage Masters - Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Piano Sonata No 32 / Katchen
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001305302 Release Date: 08/11/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Julius Katchen
    CD: $12.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $12.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 18.
    Prokofiev: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Piano Concerto No. 3
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4800837 Release Date: 04/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Julius Katchen,  Ruggiero Ricci
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Import CD
    $12.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $12.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 19.
    Bartok: Concerto For Orchestra, Piano Concerto No 3 / Katchen, Ansermet
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4429989 Release Date: 03/06/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Béla Bartók
    Performer:  Julius Katchen
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
    On sale! $18.98
    Import CD
    $15.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $18.98   CD:  $15.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 20.
    Britten: The Prince Of The Pagodas / Britten, Covent Garden
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 421855 Release Date: 03/03/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Julius Katchen
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $24.98
    ArkivCD $21.99
    Special Order
    On sale!   $24.98   ArkivCD:  $21.99 Add to Cart

  • 21.
    Brahms: Violin Sonatas / Josef Suk, Julius Katchen
    Label: London/Decca Chamber Mus Series   Catalog: 421092 Release Date: 09/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Julius Katchen,  Josef Suk
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    MP3 Available
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 22.
    Brahms: Piano Trios Nos. 1 - 3, Cello Sonata No.2
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 448092 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Josef Suk,  Julius Katchen,  János Starker
    Import CD
    $14.99
    Special Order
    CD:  $14.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 23.
    Chopin Favorites / Vered, Magaloff, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Weekend Classics   Catalog: 417690 Release Date: 08/05/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Ivan Davis,  Ilana Vered,  Joseph Cooper,  Julius Katchen  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 24.
    Ultimate Classical Relaxation - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001079002 Release Date: 03/11/2008   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Tomaso Albinoni  ... 
    Performer:  Alicia De Larrocha,  Neil Black,  Tess Miller,  Carmel Kaine  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Münchinger,  Sir Neville Marriner,  András Schiff,  Thurston Dart  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe  ... 
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    On sale!   $18.98   CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $19.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 25.
    Stravinsky: Le Sacre Du Printemps, Petrushka / Monteux, Paris Conservatoire
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 440064 Release Date: 12/10/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
    Performer:  Julius Katchen
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

1 2