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Davidson News

Veteran Pianist Byron Janis Passed Away At The Age Of 95

The seasoned pianist Byron Janis, a pupil of Vladimir Horowitz who was chosen by the United States to perform in the Soviet Union in 1960, passed away. According to reports, Janis passed away at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York last week. 95 was his age.

Byron Janis
Byron Janis; Source- Variety

Byron Janis’s Wife’s Statement

His wife, Maria Cooper Janis, the actress Gary Cooper’s twice-award Oscar winner, broke the news of his passing. She said she felt privileged to have spent 58 years loving and being loved by not just one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, but also by a remarkable person who elevated his abilities to the highest level. Maria cherished her husband’s memory of him as a guy whose love of music shaped every facet of his existence. She underlined that music was the core of Janis’s being rather than just a way to gain notoriety. She promised to treasure his memories for the rest of her days and expressed gratitude for the enlightening legacy he leaves behind in her moving tribute.

Byron Janis’s Career

Byron Janis passed away, but his music endures as a constant tribute to his extraordinary talent, tenacity, and undying love for the medium he held so dear. Janis performed major piano concertos by Chopin, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and Prokofiev during his 85-year career. He covered composers ranging from Bach to David W. Guion. In 1999, he was featured on two volumes of the Mercury Philips series Great Pianists of the 20th Century. Additionally, he recorded for EMI, Sony, Universal, and Philips. The 1960 Cultural Exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union saw Janis become the first American artist selected to take part during the Cold War. After performing in Cuba for 40 years, he became the first American concert pianist to be invited back.

Four sitting presidents saw Janis perform at the White House six times. He also won the Grand Prix du Disque, the Stanford Fellowship from Yale, the gold medal from the French Society for the Encouragement of Progress (the first musician to receive that honor since the organization’s founding in 1906), and the Commander of the French Legion d’Honneur for Arts and Letters. He suffered from excruciating psoriatic arthritis in both hands since 1973, but he kept it a secret until 1985 when Nancy Reagan revealed his illness to the public following a White House performance and named him as the organization’s spokeswoman. To address the issue, he endured multiple procedures.

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