Pressler Awarded Germany’s Highest Honor

In October of 2005 Menahem Pressler was awarded the German President’s Deutsche Bundesverdienstkreuz (Cross of Merit) First Class, Germany’s highest honor. Less than two weeks earlier, on Sept. 17 2005 he was presented with France’s highest cultural honor, the Commandeur in the Order of Arts and Letters award.

The 81-year old pianist fled the Nazis from his hometown of Magdeburg, Germany, in 1938, emigrating to Israel. He began his association with the IU School of Music in 1955, the same year that he co-founded the Beaux Arts Trio, which has become one of the world’s most widely acclaimed chamber music ensembles.

Pressler has received honorary doctorates from the University of Nebraska and the School of the Arts in North Carolina, four Grammy nominations, a lifetime achievement award from Gramophone magazine, Chamber Music America’s Distinguished Service Award, the Gold Medal of Merit from the National Society of Arts and Letters, the German Critics “Ehrenurkunde” award, and election into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Internationally active as soloist and chamber musician, additional honors include England’s Record of the Year Award, Ensemble of the Year from Musical America in 1997, a German Recording Award, and first prize in the Debussy Competition. In addition to his busy schedule as a performer, he has given master classes in Germany, France, Canada, and Argentina, and was a juror for the Van Cliburn and Queen Elisabeth competitions.

Pressler is a continuing member of the Beaux Arts Trio, which recently celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, and has recorded almost the entire chamber literature with piano on the Philips label.

Article courtesy of Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Office of Marketing and Publicity

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