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Biography

  • Born

    6 October 1927

  • Born In

    Wien, Austria

  • Died

    25 September 2019 (aged 91)

Paul Badura-Skoda (Vienna, Austria, 6 October 1927 – 25 September 2019) was an Austrian pianist.

A student of Edwin Fischer, Badura-Skoda first rose to prominence by winning first prize in the Austrian Music Competition in 1947. In 1949, he performed with distinguished conductors including Wilhelm Furtwängler and Herbert von Karajan; over his long career, he has recorded with conductors including Hans Knappertsbusch, Hermann Scherchen, and George Szell. Along with his contemporaries Friedrich Gulda and Jörg Demus, he was part of the so-called "Viennese Troika".

He is best known for his performances of works by Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, but has an extensive repertoire including many works of Chopin and Ravel. Badura-Skoda is well known for his performances on historical instruments, and owns several (his recording of the complete piano sonatas of Schubert is on five instruments from his private collection). A prolific recording artist, Badura-Skoda's over 200 records include many duplicates made to highlight the sound of different pianos: in a 2013 record, he recorded Schubert's last sonata three times on instruments from the 1820s, 1920s, and early 2000s (having already recorded the piece several times before); one of his box sets of the complete piano sonatas of Beethoven similarly includes three different versions of the "Hammerklavier" Sonata. Indeed, he is the only pianist to have not only recorded the complete piano sonatas of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, but to have done so on both historic and modern instruments.

His frequent collaborations with Demus include several duet recordings and performances, and a book on the interpretation of Beethoven's piano sonatas. Badura-Skoda also collaborated with Frank Martin, producing editions and recordings of his music, and several articles on it. In 1974 he completed an extensive and highly acclaimed tour of all the large cities in Southern Africa.

Badura-Skoda, who may be considered as one of the major pianists of our time, is also well known for his musical scholarship, often along with his wife Eva Badura-Skoda. The Badura-Skodas edited one of the volumes of Mozart's piano concertos for the Neue Mozart-Ausgabe (Serie V/Werkgruppe 15/Band 5, consisting of K. 453, 456, and 459). They also produced books on the interpretation of the piano music of Mozart and the keyboard music of Johann Sebastian Bach, which have been translated into several languages.

He died on 25 September 2019 at the age of 91.

Honours and awards

Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, 1st class (1976)
Bösendorfer-Ring 1978
Knight of the Legion of Honour (1993)
Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1997)
Gold Medal for Service to the City of Vienna (2007)
Grand Decoration of Honour in Silver for Services to the Republic of Austria (2006)
Honoris causa doctorate from Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Mannheim (2006)
Honoris causa doctorate from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (2010)
Honoris causa doctorate from Academy of Music in Kraków (2013)

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