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School of Music

Last modified: Thursday, April 25, 2002

National award presented to IU pianist Menahem Pressler

Indiana University Distinguished Professor of Music Menahem Pressler has been selected to receive the Gold Medal of Merit from the National Society of Arts and Letters.

Pressler, an internationally recognized pianist who has taught at the IU School of Music for nearly 50 years, will receive the honor May 18 at the society's national meeting in Florida.

The award recognizes Pressler for a "long and distinguished career not only as an internationally recognized concert artist but also a teacher and mentor of young artists." Previous winners have included Mikhail Baryshnikov, Louise Nevelson, Jose Ferrer, Mstislav Rostropovich and Marilyn Horne.

Pressler co-founded the Beaux Arts Trio, which has become one of the world's most widely acclaimed chamber music ensembles. The Beaux Arts Trio recordings for Philips include almost all of the piano trio literature, and the group has won numerous honors and awards.

Pressler holds honorary doctorates from the North Carolina School of Fine Arts and the University of Nebraska, plus a Lifetime Achievement Award from Gramophone magazine in London and the German Critics "Ehrenurkunde" award in recognition of 40 years of being the standard by which chamber music is measured. In 2000, Pressler was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He also has received four Grammy nominations, the Ensemble of the Year honor from Musical America, and the German Recording Award.

He has appeared with many of the world's leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the National Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony and the Royal Philharmonic. He performed and recorded the Beethoven Choral Fantasy with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under the baton of Kurt Masur.

Pressler appears frequently in recitals and concerts such as Carnegie Hall's Great Performers series, and in Boston, Toronto, St. Louis and Los Angeles. He has presented solo concerts and master classes throughout the world.