What you possibly didn't know about Peter, that he :
* was born in London in 1930, the son of an English mother, a shop assistant before marriage, who he remembered as being "maniacally possessive" and "unmusical" and Jewish father, Jerold, a brass engraver, who was estranged from his from his Russian parents, Orthodox in religion, when he married Gertude, a Christian.
* started playing the piano and 'Three Blind Mice' by ear at the age of four, before receiving lessons at the age of six, from a "very disagreeable teacher from my local school" who rapped him over the knuckles and was no doubt thrilled, when he went with his family to hear went to hear Rachmaninov play his Second Piano Concerto at Queen's Hall before he was nine years old and the Second World War broke out in 1939.
* evacuated from London during the Blitz, went to a private school in Caterham, Surrey, where his music teacher was of a "kinder disposition" and another in East Grinstead, where he was Head Chorister in the local church and played privately for Harold Craxton, Professor at the Royal Academy of Music who, on occasion, had been accompanist to Nellie Melba and Clara Butt.
* returned to London with the family after the worst of the Blitz was over and at the age of 12 was accepted, four years before normal, by the Royal Academy of Music's 'Senior Department' and at 13, auditioned for the newly-formed 'Westminster Abbey Choir' and was accepted as 'Head Chorister' and at the age of 14, appeared in a BBC feature, 'Boy's Big Chance', hosted by Jean Metcalfe, who introduced him as an "up and coming composer. He's going to play us a prelude of his own composition." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWotiDqwkYE&t=1m10s
"I was a very inhibited player. I couldn't even talk about music and she said I was 'playing to myself' and she went to the other end of the room and said : "Now play the beginning of the Chopin Schezo again. Play it to me. Don't just make a noise. Speak up and play it to me." And I did and she said : "That's better. That's what you must do" and "Myra's abrasive manner aside, I learned more in three long afternoons than I ever learned anywhere else." https://vimeo.com/6404501 at 6.28
* left the Royal Academy at the age of 18 in 1948 and without funds for further study, either prizes, private grants or a scholarship to go abroad : "had to stay where I was and I made it a point to meet and play to all the concert pianists I admired. To play for them and talk with them for an afternoon, really taught me the kind of thing I wanted to know. There was technical refinement to bring out. There was interpretive confidence that I needed."
* also at the age of 18, made his debut performance at Wigmore Hall playing Scarletti, Mozart, Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Skryabin and Chopin and the following year met Clifford Curzon who was as exacting as Myra Hess "but in a way that finally fired my awareness of what I had been missing and my enthusiasm about what now had to be done."
* at the age of 21 in 1951, appeared in the Royal Albert Hall with the London Symphony Orchestra, played 'Beethoven No.4' and received an enthusiastic review in 'The Times', reprised the music the following year with the London Mozart Players in the Royal Festival Hall with a similar critical response and in the same year, successfully auditioned for his first Prom playing 'Tchaikovsky No.2' with Sir Malcolm Sargent.
* in 1952, met the Chilean keyboard master, Claudio Arrau, who gave him a different approach when he was depressed about his playing : "I shall never forget the emphasis he laid on the absolute necessity of appreciating all forms of art, saying that whatever I saw or heard would influence my work."
* in 1953, in his second Prom, intended to play Beethoven No.2 and was "devastated" when the BBC insisted on "a towering romantic work", 'Rachmaninov No.3', instead, but met the challenge, received a five minute applause and later recalled : "I had the sort of reviews that people would kill for and only afterwards, I realised that my previous classical image had been thrown out of the window" and on a wave of success, two years later, at the age of 25 played 'Malcolm Lipkin's 4th Sonata', specially written for him, at the Cheltenham Festival of Contemporary Music.
* did not suffer from pre-concert nerves, except when playing something for the first time, but didn't want to talk to anyone in the hour before a performance and did smoke 50 cigarettes a day (until he gave up in 1970) and once said : "There is also the feeling, often not realised, that two things are happening when one walks on the stage. One is that the artist is greeting the audience and the other is that the audience is greeting the artist. There's no enmity, there's nothing to be afraid of. Normally I am dying to get on the stage and start playing and with a warm-hearted audience, what more can an artist want ?"
* in 1954 at the age of 24, married fellow pianist, .Eva Zweig, who had spent the War in Siberia in Stalin's Russia, who gave him his first son in 1955 and still riding a wave of success, in the following year he appeared on BBC Radio's 'Desert Island Discs' with Roy Plumley and chose Da Vinci's 'Virgin of the Rocks' as his 'one luxury' and in the mid 1950s, worked with the Italian violinist, Alfredo Campoli, gave concerts, made broadcasts for the BBC and recorded for Decca Records and in 1958 was the first British pianist to make a solo tour in the in the post-Second World Soviet Union and thee years later had a 'Tango' written for him by Bryan Kelly in 1961.
* having taught piano students privately from the age of 18 in 1948, did so formally from 1956 - 59, at the Royal Academy of Music and from 1968- 84, in his home studio gave a regular series of 'master classes' and with the help of Eva, a series of yearly recitals to give young artists a 'platform' prior to a London debut and recalled : "These weren't all piano recitals. We had a lot of chamber music, young singers, even Balinese dancing and every Christmas we would arrange a totally mad evening to give artists a chance to let their hair down."
* in 1962, had his recording of Brahm's Piano Concerto No1 in D minor, Op.15, used by Bryan Forbes as background music in his Leslie Caron film, 'The L-Shaped Room' : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OID6tcCdtm4&t=3m28s
* in 1967 recorded 'Liszt Six Consolations' http://ow.ly/KKYr1 and in 1968 the 'Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 3' with the Prague Symphony Orchestra http://ow.ly/KKKuo and in 1972 'Chopin Waltz in C-sharp minor Op. 64 No. 2' ttp://ow.ly/KKLh7
* in the 1970s, gave his first Chopin recital at the and in 1972, gave a Schubert recital with Ilse Wolf and in the same decade, three recitals with Victoria de los Angeles in Barcelona, Warsaw and the Festival Hall and less successfully, in 1974, as a supporter for the 'Campaign for Homosexual Equality' had his planned a benefit concert in Tunbridge Wells banned by the local council.
* in 1978, at the age of 48, eschewed further success in Britain measured by : having appeared in the Proms on 25 occasions and went to Canada to work in the University of Western Ontario and gave a recital there in 1983 "which included the best performance of the Liszt Sonata that I had ever given, or expected to give" and in the same year gave a recital with a student, tenor Kevin McMillan, which included Schumann's 'Dicterliebe'
* also in 1983, played a Chopin recital in Abraham Goodman House in New York "at which I was greeted like a pop star" and had his performance judged by theas : 'This was no indiscriminate grab-bag of war horses. Every piece that Mr Katin played reveals to composer at, or near the peak of his powers.'
* returned to Britain in 1984, but was uncomfortable with aspects of the social climate : "I picked up a copy of 'The Gramaphone' and found naked ladies over the cellos and it dawned on me that the whole scene had changed. The rot was every where", but broke new ground in his music and having "not seen much in Grieg", in the late 1980s, made a series of recordings in Oslo and "through the atmosphere, I began to see it having a stronger and darker character than the prettiness that one so often hears."
* in 1985 recorded Scalatti's Piano Sonata in E-Flat Major, K193 http://ow.ly/KKXDq and in 1992 provided the solo piano in the BBC Screen Two production of Muriel Spark's 'Momento Mori'.
* from 1992 taught at the Royal College of Music where he was awarded a doctorate in 1994, performed at music clubs and self-funded recitals, but found the major orchestras had forgotten him and the Director of the Proms decided to "freeze me out" and disillusioned that "the mafia now calling the shots derives its power not from musical expertise, but from money", in 1997 at the age of 67, "formed my own 'Trio' and could no longer moan about lack of work" and renewed his interest in Lieder and enjoyed three years of chamber music, neglected during his virtuoso years.
* after its foundation in 1995, gave fourteen recitals for the benefit of the 'Chernobyl Children's Project' set up to provide recuperatve holdays for children in Britain with, or in remission from, cancer and other chronic conditions and was still teaching at the Royal College of Music at the age of 68 in 1998.
* played for the last time at the Wigmore Hall at the age of 74 in 2004 with the 'Daily Telegraph' gently noting that in Mozart 'his refined sense of phrasing was still there' but the Guardian more harshly judging that, what he 'gave his audience was a ghost of a recital, a shadow of the technique and musicality which has sustained his earlier career' and 'there was something painful about watching a formerly brilliant pianist struggle with the decline of his technical gifts. Even if his spirit was willing, his body could not translate his musical imagination onto the keyboard.'
* at the age of 84 in the Summer of 2014, was still playing the dual role of performer and patron at 'Etchingham Music Festival' with a programme of Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy and Chopin.
* back in 1994, at the age of 64, had been awarded an honorary doctorate at de Montfort University in recognition of :
'The distinction and the outstanding contribution he had made to music in the classical tradition.'
which had pleased him no end and to which he responded :
"I doubt if I can want more than that"
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