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Michael Ponti


Michael Ponti’s parents were American, his father being in the diplomatic service; and although born in Germany, Ponti was raised in Washington DC in the United States. Having begun his piano tuition with his father, Ponti continued with Gilmour MacDonald and at the age of eleven performed Bach’s Das wohltemperierte Klavier in public. His parents returned to Germany in 1955 where Ponti continued his studies at the Hochschule in Frankfurt with Erich Flinsch who had been Emil von Sauer’s assistant for many years at the Vienna Conservatory. During this period Ponti made his first concert tour and attended master-classes given by Arthur Rubinstein and Robert Casadesus. Ponti was placed at various competitions and, after three attempts, won first prize at the Busoni Competition in Bolzano in 1964 which launched him on a successful career. He made his debut in Vienna not long afterwards with five performances of Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch.

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