The year: 1989: The story: one of the most curious in Germany’s academic history.
Young pianist Bernd Glemser was appointed as the country’s youngest professor. Still a student of Russian pianist and teacher Vitaly Margulis at the time, he had to officially leave college to take the post, but was given the reassuring news that he would be allowed to complete his examinations during the following two years.
One of the few opportunities that piano students have to perform internationally – above all with orchestras – is during the course of competitions. For this reason, the young pianist travelled the entire world until 1987 and unknowingly broke a record that had been on the books since 1890: he won 17 competitions and special prizes in succession. “The prize money allowed me to buy my first grand piano.”
Since then, the passionate virtuosity of his playing – coupled with elegance, flair and poetic sensibility – has been fascinating audiences from Chile to China, where in 1996 he was the first Western musician to perform nationwide live on television (naturally, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1).
Throughout a vast and varied repertoire, the artist delights his listeners with his unerring stylistic assurance.
His exceptionally broad repertoire, ranging from Baroque to modern, makes Bernd Glemser one of today’s elite pianists.
35 highly-acclaimed CDs, television recordings, between 15 and 20 radio broadcasts a year worldwide of concerts with big-name conductors such as Herbert Blomstedt, Riccardo Chailly, Franz Welser-Möst, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Dimitri Kitajenko and Stanislas Skrowaczewski all confirm Glemser’s exceptional status among the international élite of pianists. Almost all of his previously released CD recordings have received awards from trade journals.
The latest release, a CD entirely dedicated to Felix Mendelssohn, is being praised for its subtle textual differentiation and wide palette of articulation and colours.
Bernd Glemser’s previous CD of Chopin’s complete Ballades and Scherzos was released in early 2011. It was named “Recording of the Month, February 2011” by US reviewer Robert Cummings.
The pianist has particular affinity for the works of Sergei Rachmaninov. This makes Glemser the obvious choice for Wolfgang Sawallisch to have invited to perform the composer’s Piano ConcertoNo 3 with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The ensemble, which recorded with Rachmaninov during the composer’s lifetime, celebrated its 100th birthday with this work.
A long journey for a boy from the hills of Southern Germany, who often had to ski to his piano lessons…
In addition to his many awards, Bernd Glemser received the “Andor Foldes Prize”in 1992 and the “European Pianist’s Prize”in 1993 in Zurich, to be followed by the “Bavarian Cultural Prize”in November 2012.
In 2003, he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit by Germany’s Federal President Johannes Rau.