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Stephen Kovacevich (b1940)

Stephen Kovacevich first studied with Lev Schoor who had been a student of Annette Essipov. At the age of eleven Kovacevich made his debut in San Francisco playing the Piano Concertino by Jean Françaix and in the same year gave his first solo recital. While still in his early teens he played Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major and Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor Op. 54 with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. At the age of eighteen Kovacevich went to London in order to study with Myra Hess who shared his love of the Classics: Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert and Mozart. These composers have been central to Kovacevich’s musical life, particularly Beethoven. He made his London debut at the Wigmore Hall playing Berg’s Piano Sonata Op. 1, three preludes and fugues from the first book of Bach’s Das wohtemperierte Klavier and Beethoven’s ‘Diabelli’ Variations Op. 120. A critic ended his review, ‘Mr Bishop may make a remarkable Beethoven pianist.’ He gave three Wigmore Hall recitals in under a year, and repeated his highly praised performance of the ‘Diabelli’ Variations at the Royal Festival Hall in London in April 1966 where his interpretation was ‘…as impressive for its fiery strength and turbulence as for its rarefied visionary beauty’. Kovacevich has taken part in many music festivals including those at Edinburgh, Bath, Harrogate, Berlin and Salzburg. He has also made fourteen appearances at the Proms in London.




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