CHASINS, ABRAHAM (1903– ), pianist and composer. Born in New York, Chasins studied piano and composition at the Juiliard School of Music and later continued piano with Josef Hofmann at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he became a piano teacher (1926–35). Chasins' romantically colored character piano pieces enjoyed considerable popularity. He wrote two piano concertos, which he performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra (1929, 1933). In 1941 he joined the staff of the radio station WQXR in New York as a consultant. He later became its musical director (1946–65), and gave regular broadcasts of an educational nature. From 1972 to 1977 he was musician-in-residence at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles., and music director of the university radio station KUSC. In 1976 he received the National Federation of Music Clubs' award for outstanding service to American music during the Bicentennial Year. He composed more than 100 piano pieces and famous pianists, such as Josef Lhevinne and Josef Hofmann, included them in their repertory. An orchestral version of his Three Chinese Pieces for piano was conducted by Toscanini with the New York Philharmonic in 1931, the first work by an American composer to be included in a Toscanini program. He wrote several books, such as Speaking of Pianists (1958), The Van Cliburn Legend (1959), The Appreciation of Music (1966), and Music at the Cross-roads (1972).
Baker's Biographical Dictionary.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.