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Julius Katchen

KATCHEN, JULIUS (1926–1969), pianist. Born in New Jersey, Katchen studied with David Saperton in New York. He made his first public appearance at the age of ten and his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1937. He played with the New York Philharmonic and at the age of 12 gave his first New York recital. Katchen gave up his promising career to study philosophy and English literature at Haverford College. Subsequently awarded a French government fellowship (1945), he settled in Paris, which became his home for the rest of his life. He became a major figure on the international music scene, noted for his powerful musical intelligence and a virtuoso technique, and toured as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber music artist. He was well known for his chamber music collaborations with violinist Joseph Suk and cellist Janos Starker. Katchen maintained a broad repertoire extending from the Classical era to contemporary music, but was most closely associated with Brahms. His death from cancer at the age of 42 robbed the world of a pianist who could convey the feeling that music is the richest and most inclusive reflection of human experience.


Grove online; MGG2 ; Baker's Biographical Dictionary (1997); N. Rorem. Critical AffairsA Composer's Journal (1970); C. Meher-Homji, "A Life on the Edge (Julius Katchen)," in: International Piano Quarterly, 3 (Autumn 1999), 38–42.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.