Friday, October 27, 2006

Leonid Hambro

A remarkable pianist and long-time force at the California Arts Institute, Leo Hambro is dead at age 86

Hambro made more than 100 recordings and toured worldwide, appearing as a soloist with many orchestras including those in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and London. He was known as a skilled chamber musician, who collaborated with Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, Isaac Stern and others. He performed under the batons of Toscanini, Mitropoulos, Bernstein, Ormandy, Stokowski and many other distinguished conductors.
Bela Bartok's son selected Hambro to record all of his father's piano music, including the premiere recording of the First Piano Concerto with the Boston Symphony. Edward Jablonski, George Gershwin's official biographer, asked Hambro to record 18 of the composer's songs as Gershwin himself had played them, and to introduce them at the Prague Spring Festival.

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And here's an exchange, reported in the NYT,  that took place at one of his Carnegie Hall performances:

"When a pair of latecomers took their seats after the second piece, he asked, "Where are you from?" When they said New York, Mr. Hambro said: "Isn't that funny? I'm from Los Angeles and I got here before you did.""

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