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Ivan Moravec (b1930)

Ivan Moravec’s father was a great lover of operatic and vocal music who had a large collection of gramophone records to which his young son loved to listen, particularly to those featuring Caruso. Moravec did not begin studying the piano until he was seven, when he took lessons from Erna Grünfeld (niece of pianist Alfred Grünfeld) at the Prague Conservatory. At sixteen Moravec made his debut on Prague radio and two years later won a first prize from the Conservatory. However, for the following six years, from ages eighteen to twenty-four, Moravec suffered severe pains caused by a previous skating accident. During his years away from the public stage he spent much time listening to recordings.

Returning to performing in 1954, Moravec toured Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary and Italy, and took part in Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli’s master-classes in Arezzo during 1957 and 1958. It was in May 1959 that he made his London debut at the Wigmore Hall. The review in The Times, hailing Moravec as playing like ‘…a master musician at the height of his intellectual maturity’ resulted in the Connoisseur Record Society offering him a visit to New York to make recordings. Between 1962 and 1969 he made around a dozen discs for this company. Within a week of his Wigmore Hall debut Moravec played Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1 at the Royal Festival Hall.



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