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Annie Fischer


FISCHER, ANNIE (1914–1995), Hungarian pianist. Born in Budapest, Fisher studied in the Liszt Academy of Music with Arnold Szekely and Dohnani, and made her début in 1922, playing Beethoven's First Concerto. In 1922 she made her European début playing in Zurich. Fischer won the Franz Liszt international Competition in Budapest in 1933 with a mature and brilliant performance of Liszt's B minor sonata. She embarked on an international career, interrupted by the war years, which she spent mainly in Sweden. She made her American début in 1961 and appeared at the Salzburg festival in 1964. Although she toured throughout the world as concert pianist and recitalist, she remained essentially a European-based artist.

In 1949, 1955, and 1965 Fischer received the Kossuth prize, Hungary's highest cultural award. In 1965 she was made honorary professor at Budapest's Academy of Music and in 1974 received the Red Banner Order of Labor. Fischer established a reputation as a pianist of unique and visionary intensity. Her range of keyboard color was wide, from a tender crystal sound in Mozart, through a restrained and colorful Schumann, to a stormy and vigorous rendition of the Beethoven sonatas. As a profound pianist her interpretation was noble and intelligent, with a formidable command of structure. Fischer played music from Bach to Bartók. Mozart, Beethoven, and Schumann were central to her repertory, but she could equally master Chopin, Schubert, and Brahms. Inspirational and unpredictable, she made few recordings.

Sources:Grove online; MGG2; A. Schiff and T. Vasary, Annie Fischer (2002); T. Vasary, "Memories of Annie Fischer," in: The Hungarian Quarterly (1995).

[Naama Ramot (2nd ed.)]

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