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Last modified: Wednesday, March 28, 2012

IU Distinguished Professor Menahem Pressler to receive prize from queen of Spain

March 28, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Distinguished Professor Menahem Pressler, world-renowned pianist and faculty member at the Jacobs School of Music, will be awarded the 2012 Yehudi Menuhin Prize for the Integration of the Arts and Education by Queen Sofia of Spain during a June 12 ceremony at the Palacio Real de El Pardo in Madrid.

Menahem Pressler

Print-Quality Photo

The Yehudi Menuhin Prize was created by the Reina Sofía School of Music to recognize the work of exceptional musicians of any nationality who, in addition to having reached artistic excellence, have also contributed to the education of young musicians.

This will be the ninth time the award has been offered. Previous awardees were Zubin Mehta (2010), José Antonio Abreu (2008), Claudio Abbado (2006), Alicia de Larrocha (2004), Sir Colin Davis (2002), Carlo Maria Giulini (2001), Piero Farulli (2000) and Alfredo Kraus (1999).

The prize includes 18,000 euro and a medal by sculptor Julio López Hernández, to be awarded by Queen Sofia during the gala ceremony that marks the end of the Reina Sofia School's academic year.

The pre-selection committee of the Menuhin Prize is presided over by Antonio Bonet Correa, director of the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts and professor emeritus of the Complutense University, both in Madrid. The secretary of the committee is Alvaro Guibert, director of contents of the Albéniz Foundation.

About Menahem Pressler
Co-founder and the only pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio for nearly 55 years, Menahem Pressler has established himself among the world's most distinguished and honored musicians, with a career that spans over six decades. He continues to perform throughout the world both as a piano soloist and collaborating chamber musician, including performances with the Juilliard, Emerson, American and Cleveland Quartets, all while maintaining his teaching career.

Born in Magdeburg, Germany, in 1923, Pressler fled Nazi Germany in 1939 and immigrated to Israel. His career was launched after he was awarded first prize at the Debussy International Piano Competition in San Francisco in 1946. That was followed by his successful American debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Eugene Ormandy. Since then, Pressler's tours have included performances with the orchestras of New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Dallas, San Francisco, London, Paris, Brussels, Oslo, Helsinki and many others.

Pressler joined the piano faculty at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in 1955, and he currently holds the rank of Distinguished Professor of Music as the Charles Webb Chair.

His former students grace the faculties of schools of music across the world and have become some of the most prominent and influential artists and teachers today. In addition to teaching his private students at Jacobs, he presents master classes around the globe and continues to serve on the jury of many international piano competitions. He is also advisor of the Piano Groups Department at the International Institute of Chamber Music in Madrid. The institute is a chamber music post-grade center with academic direction from the Reina Sofía School of Music.

Among his honors and awards, Pressler has received six Grammy nominations, a lifetime achievement award from Gramophone magazine and election into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2007, Pressler was appointed as an honorary fellow of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance in recognition of a lifetime of performance and leadership in music. In 2005, he received two additional awards of international merit: the German President's Deutsche Bundesverdienstkreuz (German Cross of Merit) First Class, Germany's highest honor, and France's highest cultural honor, the Commandeur in the Order of Arts and Letters award.

In addition to recording nearly the entire piano chamber repertoire with the Beaux Arts Trio on the Philips label, Pressler has compiled over 30 solo recordings, ranging from the works of Bach to Ben Haim.