Serkin, Rudolf

Serkin, Rudolf,

1903–91, Austrian-American pianist, b. Bohemia. Serkin gave joint recitals with Adolf BuschBusch, Adolf
, 1891–1952, German-Swiss violinist. He studied at the Cologne Conservatory. From 1919 to 1935 he headed outstanding chamber music groups, including the Busch Quartet, one of the greatest of the early 20th cent.
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 (his father-in-law from 1935) and made his U.S. debut (1933) with the Busch chamber players. He was a soloist (1936) with the New York Philharmonic under Toscanini. Serkin and Busch brought the entire cycle of Beethoven piano-and-violin sonatas to New York audiences in 1938. In 1939 he joined the staff of the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, and was later (1968–75) its director. He also was director (1951–91) and cofounder of the Marlboro School of Music in Vermont. His son Peter Adolf Serkin, 1947–2020, b. New York City, also was a concert pianist, known for his performances of the standard classical repertoire and of contemporary works. He taught at the Mannes School of Music, Juilliard, Bard College, and other schools.
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Serkin, Rudolf

(1903–91) pianist; born in Eger, Bohemia. In childhood he studied piano and composition in Vienna, making his recital debut at age 12. He became well-known both for his solo performances and for his chamber-music recitals with violinist Adolf Busch. After making his American debut in 1933, he moved to the U.S.A. in 1939 to join the faculty of the Curtis Institute, whose director he became from 1968 to 1976. In 1949 he helped found the important summer music school at Marlboro, Vt. Admired for his insightful performance of the Austro-German classical repertoire, he also successfully played Chopin, Debussy, and Bartók.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.