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Remembering the Elegant Pianist Aldo Ciccolini, 1925-2015

The spectacular pianist Aldo Ciccolini passed away on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at age 89. Ciccolini was on the "Crossover Bucket List" of prospective guests for a very long time. And we’re not only saddened by his death, but also that we were never able to speak with him. But we do have the music and wonderful performances of this great pianist.

So, on Crossover, Jill Pasternak pays tribute to Aldo Ciccolini with an homage to his life and his wonderful command of the classical keyboard. She'll also play his performances of Ravel, Debussy and Satie, from his collection of well over 50 recordings. Read this article from NPR Music about Aldo Ciccolini


Aldo Ciccolini was born in Naples, where he studied the piano and conducting, heir, through his teachers, to the traditions of Ferruccio Busoni and Liszt. He made his debut at the age of sixteen in 1941 at the Naples Teatro San Carlo, going on to win the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition in 1949.

His career has brought collaboration with Furtwängler, Ansermet, Cluytens, Mitropoulos, Münch, Maazel, Kleiber, Prêtre, Ceccato, Gavazzeni, Martinon, Monteux, Plasson and many others, including Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. His many recordings include works by Massenet, Chabrier, Schubert, Schumann, Scarlatti, Liszt, Spanish composers, the complete Sonatas of Mozart and Beethoven, and the piano compositions of Debussy for which he was awarded the Diapason d’Or in 1993.

In 2002 Ciccolini was awarded the Diapason d’Or for his recording of the complete solo piano works of Janá?ek and Schumann, and in 2003 for his recording of Chopin’s Nocturnes. Other honours include Accademico di Santa Cecilia, Officier de la Légion d’Honneur, Ordre National du Mérite, Commandeur des Arts et Lettres, Prix Edison de l’Académie Charles Cros, the French Grand Prix du Disque, three times, and the Gold Medal of Art and Culture from the president of the Italian Republic.  In 2013, he was given the International Classical Music Award's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Crossover, with Jill Pasternak, airs Saturday morning at 11:30 am on WRTI-FM, with an encore the following Friday evening at 7 pm on HD-2. Both airings can be heard on the All-Classical web stream at wrti.org.

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