Gerhard Oppitz


Born: February 5, 1953
Gerhard Oppitz is a German pianist with an unusually broad repertory, encompassing not only a vast range of traditional works -- the complete output of Brahms and Grieg, and whole chunks of Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Ravel, Liszt, and von Weber -- but also a large portion of the modern repertory, including works by Boulez, Henze, Ligeti, Messiaen, and others. He has also been prolific in the recording studio with numerous multi-disc sets of music by Brahms, Grieg, and Beethoven, as well as a vast number of individual CDs and various recordings involving accompaniment in chamber music and songs. Not surprisingly, the gifted Oppitz is multi-lingual, with fluency in seven languages, and has a passion for flying, often taking his plane to concert locales.

Oppitz was born in the Bavarian town of Frauenau on February 5, 1953. He began playing the piano at the age of five and by 11 gave his first public concert, an event attended by Paul Buck, professor of piano at the Stuttgart Musikhochschule. Oppitz then studied with Buck in Stuttgart and later with Hugo Steurer in Munich.

In 1973 Oppitz met renowned German pianist Wilhelm Kempff, who became a mentor. From master classes held by Kempff in Positano, Italy, Oppitz acknowledged he gained valuable interpretive insights into the piano works of Beethoven. In 1977 Oppitz won first prize in the Artur Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv, the first German pianist to achieve this distinction.

Four years later, Oppitz was named music professor at the Munich Musikhochschule, becoming, at 28, the youngest musician ever appointed to the faculty. By this time his career as a soloist was in full swing, with appearances at the most prestigious recital halls and with major European orchestras and conductors. His first recordings now were drawing critical praise and finding a wide audience.

Over the next two decades Oppitz established an international reputation as one of the most talented and versatile pianists before the public. He has recorded for a variety of labels, including Tudor and Bayer, but most prominently for RCA and Hanssler Classics. In 2004 RCA released a compilation by Oppitz of the complete solo works of Grieg, and followed the next year with the complete solo output of Brahms. By 2006, Oppitz was nearing completion of a cycle of the Beethoven piano sonatas on the Hanssler Classics label.