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Bach: Prelude and Fugue in E flat major, BWV 876
by Jorg Demus
Jorg Demus (1928 to 2019) was an Austrian pianist and teacher. Jorg Demus was born in St Polten, lower Austria, on December 2nd 1928. He received his first piano lessons from his mother (a concert violinist) at the age of six - five years later he entered the Vienna Academy of Music, studying piano, composition and conducting. He made his debut as a pianist when he was still a student, and at the age of 15 played Bach's "Das wohltemperierte Klavier" in the Brahms-Saal of the prestigious Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. After graduating in 1945, he continued to study conducting with Josef Krips and Hans Swarowsky, and also with Yves Nat from 1951 to 1953 in Paris. Also in 1953, Demus studied interpretation with Wilhelm Kempff, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli and Edwin Fischer, and attended master classes led by Walter Gieseking. He had made his first tour to South America in 1951, after which he often appeared internationally in concert halls, including those in England and France. In 1972 he toured all the major cities of southern Africa, and in 1974 performed for the "Peabody Mason Concert" series in Boston (US). Also active as a lied accompanist and a chamber music partner, he appeared in this occupation with singers such as Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Elly Ameling and Peter Schreier, plus the string players Josef Suk and Antonio Janigro. He performed widely as a soloist, and collaborated with fellow Austrian pianist Paul Badura-Skoda on the concert platform as well as on a book concerning the interpretation of Beethoven's piano sonatas. Demus had once been a collector of historic keyboard instruments, but in the end presented them all to a museum. Although he regularly lectured at the music academies of Vienna and Stuttgart, he still continued playing until shortly before his death (he appeared alongside Badura-Skoda at the 2018 Linz Brucknerfest). Some minor compositions by him (chiefly for piano, chamber music and lied) were constructed in a generally conservative style, and his awards included the 'Beethoven Ring' of the "Beethoven Society Vienna" in 1977, the 'Mozart Medal' of the "Mozartgemeinde Wien" in 1979 and the "Osterreichisches Ehrenkreuz" in 2006, as well as the "Robert Schumann Prize of the City of Zwickau" and the "Order of the Legion of Honour". Jorg Demus died after a short illness in Vienna on April 16th 2019, aged 90. [ Translated from: ]
Posted: 18th May 2019
Hundreds of very talented musicians pass away each year, some without much recognition at all. On "Rest In Peace", I aim to give them a fitting 'send-off', with a decent Tribute. I hope you will join me in marking their passing.....
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