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Jörg Demus, piano
Joerg Demus was born in St. Poelten, Lower Austria, on December 2nd 1928. His mother was a concert violinist and his father Prof. Otto Demus a universally known art historian.
Joerg Demus received his first piano lessons at the age of six and was allowed to enter the Vienna State Academy of Music when he was eleven. Besides the regular Highschool, he studied piano with Walter Kerschbaumer, organ with Karl Walter, conducting with Joseph Krips and composition with Joseph Marx. After completing these studies in Vienna, he went abroad to study with Yves Nat in Paris, then with Walter Gieseking in Saarbrucken, later with Wilhem Kempff and Arturo Benedetti-Michelangeli.
When Joerg Demus was 14 years old he made his debut at the famous Brahms-Saal of the prestigious “Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde” in Vienna. 1950 he gave first concerts in Zurich and London and 1951 he went on his first extended tour of South America. His debut in Paris 1953 at the Salle Gaveau turned into a regular sensation. The star critic, Clarendon, wrote an enthusiastic review under the title ‘Joerg Demus joue et gagne’. 1956 Joerg Demus won the important ‘Premio Busoni’ at the international Busoni-Competition in Bolzano.
Since that time Joerg Demus has performed in all the important music centers of the Old and the New World. His New York debut was followed by annual tours to the United States and since 1961 regular tours to Asia, Australia and Japan, where he is considered as one of the great Masters of our time. Joerg Demus has been regular guest at international Festivals (Salzburg, Wien, Luzern, Montreux, New York, Tokyo etc). He played often under the baton of Herbert von Karajan, Joseph Krips, Carlo Zecchi, Andre Cluytens, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Seiji Ozawa and many others. He is famous for its interpretations of Bach, Schubert, Schumann, Debussy and of his own compositions.
Many of his recordings have won international awards. Up to now Joerg Demus has achieved a repertory of more than 350 LPs, 200 Compact Discs, Video-recordings and DVDs . He recorded the complete piano-works of Robert Schumann and Claude Debussy, J.S. Bach’s ‘Welltempered-Clavier’ and ‘Clavierubung’, piano concerti by Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schumann, as well as important works of chamber music with the Wiener Kammerensemble. He is a master Lieder accompanist and joined for concerts and recordings Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Elly Ameling, Peter Schreier and Theo Adam.
Several recordings of Joerg Demus were inspired by his passion of collecting historic keyboard instruments. In honour of Beethoven’s 200th birthday Joerg Demus played on Beethoven’s Broadwood and Conrad Graf-Piano at the Beethoven Festival in Bonn. Near Salzburg, the Joerg Demus Museum ‘The History of the Piano’, one of the most finest conceptions in the world, invites every summer young students to its master-classes. Joerg Demus holds master-classes in Europe, USA and Japan and he is a highly appreciated pedagogue.
Joerg Demus published musical essays under the title ‘Abenteuer der Interpretation’ (Brockhaus Edition) and together with Paul Badura-Skoda a book on Beethoven’s Sonatas.
Joerg Demus also composes – sonatas for violin and piano, violoncello and piano, trios, pieces for piano solo and many songs. The lyric Opera ‘Der Tor und der Tod’ after Hugo von Hofmannsthal was created 2006 in Tokyo and Vienna.
1943 Debut in Brahms-Saal at the Gesellschaft of Musikfreunde in Vienna 1945 Reifepruefung at the Music Academy Vienna 1947 Ehrenpreis at the first post-war Austrian piano competition 1953 Sensational debut in Paris 1977 Award of the Beethoven-Ring of the Vienna Beethoven Society 1979 The Mozat Medal of the Vienna Mozart Society 1981 Honorary Doctors degree of Amherst 1986 The Schumann Award of Zwickau 2006 Oesterreichisches Ehrenkreuz fuer Wissenschaft und Kunst 1. Klasse 2006 Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur in France 2006 World premiere of the opera ‘Der Tor und der Tod’ in Tokyo and Vienna.