Alfred Brendel to Retire Next Year

Classic Arts News   Alfred Brendel to Retire Next Year
Austrian pianist Alfred Brendel will retire from performing after a recital in Vienna next December, reports the Chicago Tribune.

"This has been on his mind for some years," his spokeswoman, Josephine Hemsing, said. "I know he's not doing this for the publicity - he's not even calling it a farewell tour. He just wants ... to stop."

The 76-year-old's health is "better than ever," she added, and the decision is unrelated to illness.

Brendel, who was self-taught from age 16 on, is highly regarded for his interpretations of Beethoven, Schubert and Mozart, as well as works by Haydn, Schumann and Liszt. A string of recordings of Beethoven's works on the Vox label from 1958-64 solidified his position among Edwin Fischer, Wilhelm Kempff and other interpreters of Austro-Germanic repertoire. In 1982-83, he presented Beethoven's complete piano sonatas over 77 recitals in Europe and the U.S., becoming the first pianist to perform the cycle at Carnegie Hall since Artur Schnabel did so forty years earlier.

Also a published writer, he has released collections of humorous prose poems.

"I now lead a kind of double life," the pianist said in a 2000 BBC/ZDF interview with Jeremy Nicholas. "I shall continue writing while stocks last and when I run out I might again create something musical. I will also play as long as I function well enough physically. When you get older it is more of a risk than in former times. You don't always function as well, but on the other hand you get the impression that sometimes you may play a little better than in the early days. This then helps to bear it all."

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