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Jakob Gimpel (1906 - 1989)

Gimpel began his study of the piano with his father at the age of six and two years later he was playing in public. He enrolled at the Lwów Conservatory, graduating at the age of fifteen, and going on to Vienna where he studied piano with Edouard Steuermann and composition with Alban Berg. His recital debut in Vienna, made when he was only seventeen, astounded the critics as did his orchestral debut made three years later with the Concertgebouw Orchestra and Pierre Monteux in Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 Op. 18. In 1929 Gimpel took part in the first International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, but was not placed amongst the prize winners.

During the 1930s Gimpel toured with violinists Erica Morini, Nathan Milstein and Gimpel’s own younger brother Bronisław. In 1938 he and his wife emigrated to the United States; his parents, his older brother Karl, himself a pianist, and many other family members perished in the Holocaust. The cut and thrust of the commercial musical scene in New York was too much for Gimpel’s temperament, so he decided to settle on the west coast of America in Los Angeles.




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