Menahem Pressler receives Indiana University Medal at 90th birthday gala concert
17 December 2013
Pianist and current IP cover artist Menahem Pressler has received a special award from Indiana University (IU), where he is a senior member of the IU Jacobs School of Music.
IU president Michael A McRobbie presented the University Medal to at a gala concert on 13 December, held in honour of Pressler’s 90th birthday (16 December). ‘As an internationally celebrated soloist, chamber musician and teacher, Professor Pressler is an Indiana University treasure,’ President McRobbie said. ‘The university is privileged to honour him with the University Medal, given in gratitude both for his enormous contributions to the musical arts and for his service to the university over nearly six decades.’ Pressler joined the piano faculty in 1955, and he currently holds the rank of Distinguished Professor of Music as the Charles Webb Chair.
Co-founder of the Beaux Arts Trio, Pressler has established himself among the world’s most distinguished musicians, with a career that spans almost seven decades. He continues to perform throughout the world both as a soloist and collaborating chamber musician while maintaining his teaching career. Born in Magdeburg, Germany, in 1923, Pressler fled Nazi Germany in 1939 and immigrated to Israel. His career was launched after he was awarded first prize at the Debussy International Piano Competition in San Francisco in 1946, followed by his American debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Pressler also received a letter from President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama in honour of his 90th birthday. The letter said, ‘The arts appeal to our common humanity, enrich our lives and inspire us to strive for a more perfect union. As you celebrate with family and friends, we hope you reflect with joy on the memories you have made and take pride in all you have accomplished.’