Claude Frank, Top classical pianist, dead at 89
Legendary American pianist Claude Frank has died aged 89 at his house in New York. The piano player died due to complications as a result of dementia, his daughter Pamela said. Frank, who was also a teacher, was at the height of his career in the 1970s when he performed around 70 concerts a year around the world. He also recorded duets of Beethoven’s 10 sonatas with his violinist daughter during the 1990s.
As Pamela’s success as a performer took off, he praised her musical prowess, saying that his only child had more talent than both him and his wife combined. The musician and his Czech-born wife Lilian Kalir, who died in 2004, often performed piano as a duo.
Frank was born in Germany to Jewish parents and moved with his family to Paris in the wake of the Nazi takeover. After the invasion of France in 1940, they escaped to Portugal, and eventually made it to the US where Frank served in the military, becoming an American citizen in 1944. Frank made his recital debut in 1947 in New York, later becoming one of the early players in the Boston Symphony Chamber Players.
He became associated with performances of Beethoven’s work, playing the complete cycle of 32 piano sonatas which was later recorded and released. His playing was distinguished by clear projection of the music, faithfulness to the score and his own notes of poetic refinement. In 2008, Frank was one of a line-up of pianists from around the world who performed at an Olympic recital at the 2008 Beijing games.