"I wanted to come face to face with a master: I recognised him as such." (Hélène Grimaud)

The legendary Cuban American pianist Jorge Bolet

Click here to1914-1990  "I wanted to come face to face with a master: I recognised him as such." (Hélène Grimaud) 


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David Saperton and Godowsky

Posted by Jorge Bolet website on 8 June, 2018 at 13:30 Comments comments (0)

Until a revival of interest in Godowsky began in the 1980s, Saperton, in the words of Abram Chasins, “alone had both the will and the skill to play and record a sizable number of Godowsky’s compositions."

I found this interesting snippet about Bolet's teacher from:


Bolet in Fuenterrabia Part II

Posted by Jorge Bolet website on 7 June, 2018 at 11:05 Comments comments (0)

Ramón RODAMILÁNS - is he R.R.? -  writes (in Spanish) about JB in Spain.  I have seen this before as a post on the web but it seems to have an official imprimatur by being printed in a booklet of the Sociedad Filarmónica de Bilbao.   See pages 12-16 of:


I will translate in due course but most of it is available in the 1960s Holywood page

Hondarribia/ Fuenterrabia, Spain

Posted by Jorge Bolet website on 7 June, 2018 at 10:55 Comments comments (0)

I see that the Wikipedia article for Hondarribia lists "famous pianist" Jorge Bolet as one of the notable past residents.

Hondarribia (Basque: Hondarribia; Spanish: Fuenterrabía; French: Fontarrabie) is a town situated on the west shore of Bidasoa river's mouth, in Gipuzkoa, in Basque Country, Spain.

Does anyone have more information about Jorge and his house in northern Spain? I'd be delighted to hear.

Young Jorge Bolet aged c.22 in 1936

Posted by Jorge Bolet website on 5 May, 2018 at 12:30 Comments comments (0)


This is probably well known to some of you but for those who don’t know it, it is a real find. Here is Bolet playing in 1936 at Curtis. He had made his European debut in 1935.

Young Jorge Bolet in the Casimir Hall, Curtis Institute (Wednesday, 9 Dec 1936). This is a very rare recording. Overtones 1936, the magazine of the Curtis Institute, has the following: "Summer 1936 fairly teemed with the peregrinations hither and yon of Curtis Institute people bent upon more or less musical pursuits. This year the President (Mary Louise Curtis Bok) herself took to the sea and cruised the Arctic Circle. Looming high amongst professional travels was Dr. [Josef] Hofmann's monumental South American tour. Mr. (Fritz) Reiner conducted opera at Covent Garden in June. Jorge Bolet, Curtis graduate, gave two piano recitals in Havana. Jorge, by the way, is back at The Curtis Institute, studying, this time, conducting.

On 9th December, Jorge Bolet, pianist, was "guest" in the Curtis Institute "hour." The program featured works of Franz Liszt, commemorating the one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of the pianist-composer's birth and the fiftieth anniversary of his death. Mr. Bolet, who is a graduate in piano under Mr David Saperton, opened the concert with Liszt's Fantasie and Fugue in G minor on a Bach Chorale. Barbara Thorne, soprano, pupil of Miss Harriet van Emden, then sang Es muss ein Wunderbares sein, Du bist wie eine Blume, and Die Lorelei, with Ethel Evans, pupil of Mr Harry Kaufman, at the piano.

Returning to the piano, Mr. Bolet played the Liebestraum, Waldesrauschen, Valse impromptu, and La Campanella, [in a version with additions by Busoni?] which brought the concert to a conclusion.

Marston Classical CDs Sidney Foster

Posted by Jorge Bolet website on 30 October, 2017 at 15:05 Comments comments (0)

This pianist's name is known to me only through occasionally being mentioned in biographies of Jorge Bolet.   He was the youngest pianist ever to be accepted at Curtis and was a contemporary of Bolet.

Sidney Foster (May 23, 1917 — February 7, 1977), born Sidney Earl Finkelstein, was an American virtuoso pianist and teacher. He was born in Florence, South Carolina, in 1917, the son of Louis Finkelstein, a jeweler, and Anna Diamond. In 1925 he moved to Miami, Florida and had piano lessons with Earl Chester Smith. After playing for pianist Josef Hofmann, then Director of the Curtis Institute, he was accepted as one of the youngest pupils ever of that celebrated institution. He was first assigned to the class of Isabelle Vengerova and later to American pianist David Saperton, the son-in-law of pianist Leopold Godowsky. [WIKIPEDIA]

MARSTON is issuing: Sidney Foster: Rediscovering an American Master =  http://https://www.marstonrecords.com/pages/future

He was "undoubtedly one of the greatest pianists of his time, but he is all but unknown today, and made almost no commercial recordings. In 1993, the International Piano Archives at the University of Maryland issued a two-CD set of Foster performances taken from live concerts. This year Marston is celebrating Foster's centenary by issuing a five-CD set of solo and concerto performances from live concerts, never before issued. Foster's breath-taking virtuosity, the volcanic intensity he was capable of unleashing, and his beautiful sound, are immediately apparent, but it is his gift of supreme music-making that places him solidly in the top rank of twentieth century pianists."

Sidney Foster plays Delibes-Dohnanyi "Naila" Waltz in 1968 (a live recording) =  http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XN4nEj5cydg

Francis Crociata tells me that Bolet recorded this piece in the 1960s, possibly in England, but the recording has not yet surfaced.  Anyone know of its whereabouts? 

[He performed it on 20 December 1929 at Curtis.  I also have a record for the year1942: The Windsor Daily Star (Ontario, Canada) - 30 May 1942 -  "The famous pianist, visiting Mr Raymond F[ayette] Stove[r] [of Shadowlawn at St. Clare Shores], will present a concert tomorrow at the Detroit Golf Club, at 8.30, including Albeniz El Albaicin and Von Dohnanyi’s Waltz from the ballet Naila of Delibes."]

Brooklyn October 1977 Tchaikovsky

Posted by Jorge Bolet website on 29 October, 2017 at 9:55 Comments comments (2)

21-23 October 1977

The Brooklyn Philharmonia's subscription season got off to a thrilling start Friday night at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. As with all five programs on the orchestra's major 1977‐78 subscription series, the concert consisted of works by a single composer, in this case Tchaikovsky. Lukas Foss, the orchestra's regular conductor, was in charge, and Jorge Bolet was the soloist in the Piano Concerto No. 1.

It was a stirring combination. Mr. Foss is a natural Romantic whose identification with such music is contagious. As for Mr. Bolet, he is a virtuoso whose sovereign command of the keyboard enables him to shift effortlessly from thunderous eruptions to featherweight pianissimos.

In Mr. Bolet's performance, the big chain of octaves in the concerto's outer movements were not merely fast and assured, but suavely shaped, and illuminated by flashes of color. If there was very little of the demonic intensity of a Horowitz or a Weissenberg, Mr. Bolet played with power and elegance to spare.

Both Mr. Foss and Mr. Bolet had strong, idiomatic ideas about how the work should go. After a fairly serious disagreement over tempo near the start, they settled into a richly satisfying collaboration.


Australian pianist Piers Lane speaks about Bolet

Posted by Jorge Bolet website on 29 October, 2017 at 9:50 Comments comments (0)

Piers Lane

But it was masterclasses with that great Romantic, the Cuban Jorge Bolet, that I was most touched by. I played Gaspard de la Nuit to him in Seattle in 1979 and he invited me to take part in his classes during the Edinburgh Festival later that year – a week of them. We worked through the Liszt Sonata and Stravinsky’s Petrouchka among other pieces and I learned all sorts of new pedaling ideas. The sonorities and rubato he achieved, his cantabile, the focus of his concentration and sheer knowledge of the score left an indelible impression

Rachmaninov 2

Posted by Jorge Bolet website on 29 October, 2017 at 9:45 Comments comments (0)

 Someone has uploaded a rather fuller version of this performance with BBC Scottish Symphony in the Usher Hall Edinburgh 10th November 1984.  So nice to see the urbane Michael Oliver introducing it.


Switzerland on the AUDITE recordings

Posted by Jorge Bolet website on 29 October, 2017 at 9:40 Comments comments (0)

I had not fully appreciated that Bolet knew the first volume (Switzerland) of the Années de Pélèrinage and had it in his repertoire. I had always assumed he had learned the whole volume for the DECCA recording in the 1980s.

American Liszt Society Tribute to Jorge Bolet Indiana

Posted by Jorge Bolet website on 29 October, 2017 at 9:20 Comments comments (0)

American Liszt Society – “A Tribute to Jorge Bolet”

Faculty/Guest Recital

Friday, November 10, 2017

8:00 pm

Jacobs School of Music, University of Indiana at Bloomington