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Jorge Bolet

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Jorge Bolet (November 15, 1914–October 16, 1990) was a Cuban pianist, conductor and teacher.

Bolet was born in Havana, Cuba and studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he himself taught from 1939 to 1942. His teachers included Leopold Godowsky, Josef Hofmann, David Saperton, Moriz Rosenthal and Fritz Reiner.[1]

In 1942 Bolet joined the US Army and was sent to Japan. While there, he conducted the Japanese premiere of The Mikado. [1] He made his first recordings for Remington. He provided the piano soundtrack for the 1960 film about Liszt, “Song without End”. His playing, though, was condemned by American critics for decades as too focused on virtuosity. Hence he only made a few recordings for smaller labels in the 1960s.

He came to prominence in 1974 with a stupendous recital at Carnegie Hall, which set a seal on his reputation. Bolet, “stung by years of neglect” (as one critic put it), showed exactly what he could do and his phenomenal playing can be heard on CDs issued most recently by PHILIPS in their Great Pianists Series. He later became Head of Piano at the Curtis Institute, succeeding Rudolf Serkin, but retired from this to concentrate once again on his career. A measure of Bolet’s stature can be given by the fact that the dean of American music critics, Harold Schonberg, considered him “a kind of latter-day Josef Lhévinne”.[2]

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