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My Piano Performance Professor—New York Debut

Biography: 1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9   10

History of Events

Wanda Krasoff, Pianist and Professor

Town Hall Recital in New York

 Her interpretations commanded respect for their general musicianship and efficiency. Miss Krasoff left no doubt she is an accomplished artist and a fine musician. 

Reviewed by Harold C. Schonberg, The New York Times

Other Positive Reviews from Well-Known
Pianists and Critics

Ignace Paderewski (Rancho San Ignacio)
Josef Hofmann (Curtis Institute)
Arthur Rubinstein (Los Angeles)

Two New York Town Hall Recitals

Miles Kastendieck
The New York Times
New York Herald Tribune

Wanda Krasoff at Town Hall

 Miss Krasoff is a remarkably honest musician and remarkably equipped in technique. 

New York Herald Tribune

 A certain admirable solidarity about her playing revealed a high degree of competency and control through her program. Miss Krasoff knows what she wants to do. The program was pleasantly varied. 

Miles Kastendieck, New York

 She played with exceptional grace and with a delicacy of touch that made even tiny sounds seem bell-like. 

The New York Times

Of course, Professor Krasoff had numerous positive reviews from so many well-known critics that they cannot all be included, however. I have included more than a few quotes to demonstrate her expertise as a professor and concert pianist.

Soloist with Orchestras

Felix Borowski, Chicago Sun-Times (1)
Felix Borowski, Chicago Sun-Times (2)
Hilmar Grondahl, Portland Oregonian
Alfred Frankenstein, San Francisco Chronicle
William C. Glackin, Sacramento Bee

 Wanda Krasoff disclosed not only a distinguished talent, but also a maturity of style and performance that set her apart from the average keyboard artist. 

Felix Borowski, Chicago Sun-Times

 Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, with Wanda Krasoff, was a vigorous adventure that attained a high degree of polish. 

Marilyn Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle

Other Recitals

Alfred Frankenstein, San Francisco Chronicle
Amarillo Daily News
Alfred Frankenstein, San Francisco Chronicle
Alexander Fried, San Francisco Examiner
Vancouver, (B.C.) Daily Province
Vancouver (B.C.) News-Herald
Garth Fanning, Sacramento Bee

With the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra—

When the Cesar Franck Variations for the piano and orchestra is given an eminently poetic and expressive interpretation, that makes news. Wanda Krasoff gave a remarkably and thoroughly admirable performance. In it she found a warmth, delicacy and vividness which are audible and she played it, through her musicianship and technical adroitness, in the tradition of Cesar Franck’s finer works. 

Alfred Frankenstein, San Francisco Chronicle

 When Wanda Krasoff played Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor, her bravura performance, one feel sure, would be dear to Liszt’s heart. 

Garth Fanning, Sacramento Bee

Soloist Three Times on the Standard Hour

San Francisco Symphony Orchestra (Pierre Monteux)
Portland Symphony Orchestra (Werner Janssen)
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra (Carmen Dragon)

 Miss Krasoff presented one of the most musically conceived, shaded and proportioned performances of the Mozart ‘Turkish Rondo’ Sonata it has even been my good fortune to hear. It was beautifully playing, delicately calculated as a finely-jeweled watch, and altogether are admirable. There was not a trace of the stiff school-of-velocity style that sometimes ruins Mozart. It was fleet and crisp as you please, but it sang, too, as Mozart always should. 

Alfred Frankenstein, San Francisco Chronicle

Performed under the Following Conductors

Artur Rodzinski
Pierre Monteux
Werner Janssen
Thor Johnson
Julius Rudel
Carmen Dragon
Antonia Brico
George Schick
Fritz Berens
Orley See
William Jackson

With the Portland Symphony Orchestra—

Wanda Krasoff, to get directly to an important point, is a pianistic find. She has passion, power, precision, perception and taste. A pianist of uncommon brilliance and authority resulting in one of the most rousing receptions in the current series. 

Hilmar Grondahl Portland Oregonian

Biography for My Primary Piano Performance Professor and Pianist, Wanda Krasoff:

Wanda Krasoff was born in San Francisco—the third generation of her family to disclose extraordinary musical ability. Her father, of Czarist Russian nobility, was an operatic tenor who sang leading roles with Luisa Tetrazzini at the New Tivoli in San Francisco. Her uncle, a pupil of the great Anton Rubinstein and Moritz Moszkowski, was a celebrated pianist, composer, and conductor.

When very young, Wanda played for Paderewski and, in later years, for Arthur Rubinstein. Their reviews and endorsements for her talent as well as the advice and sharing of their musical knowledge, has made a lasting impression on her and her pupils. I was already a devoted fan of Arthur Rubinstein, and he was my favorite pianist of all and hero, since his piano playing made sense to me as a pianist.

The eminent Josef Hofmann offered her a scholarship to study with him at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, however. Upon the advice of Hofmann, she sought the guidance of the distinguished Hungarian pianist and pedagogue, Alexander Raab (studied with Leschetizky at the Vienna Conservatory and acquainted with Brahms), under whose careful tutelage she matured into an outstanding pianist. Through his teaching, she can trace her musical lineage back to Beethoven. Prior to studying with Raab, Wanda studied with a professor in San Francisco for 5 years; he studied with Liszt. During that period of time with that professor, many years were spent learning a formative and fluid and very solid technique.

Miss Krasoff has made numerous appearances as soloist, with symphony orchestras. The Grant Park concert was played to an audience of 15,000 and was broadcast nationally from coast-to-coast.

Solo appearances include two New York Town Hall recitals, also Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, Vancouver, B.C., the University of California (both in Berkeley and Riverside) and the Carmel Bach Festival. She has toured the Southwest and has been heard frequently in recitals and as soloist with orchestras throughout California.

In addition, during her later years as a performer, she extended her tours to Japan. She also taught students, as a professor, at Holy Names University (of California and in Oakland), including private lessons at her piano studio located in Berkeley, California (2954 Claremont Avenue).

Many of her advanced pupils attended and graduated from: the Eastman School of Music, The Juilliard School (Juilliard was always their first choice; many studied with Rosina Lhévinne, made successful Carnegie Hall debuts and had successful careers in the performing arts), San Francisco State University, and also studied at other prestigious Ivy League universities, including Harvard University (for other majors).

Signed and dated from the original poster/brochure from Wanda Krasoff, and I added in other pieces of information given in oral communication at piano lessons throughout the years.

My Piano Performance Professor—New York Debut

Sari Biro, Pianist and Professor

 Sari Biro must be reckoned among the foremost women exponents of the keyboard of the time. 

Reviewed by The New York Times

 To hear Sari play makes one a better human being. 

Reviewed by Vincent d’Indy

 Among the encores was Liszt’s 15th Hungarian Rhapsody, the Rakoczy March. It has the probably not been played with so corrosive a flame since the days of Liszt himself. 

Reviewed by The San Francisco Chronicle

 Only the great among pianists can perform the Berceuse with the feathery lightness of tone, technical address, and delicate poetry brought to it by Miss Biro. 

Reviewed by The New York Times

 The audience was enchanted. 

Reviewed by Berlin Spandauer Volkblatt

 She made a deep impression on audiences, music critics, and every member of the orchestra, with her brilliant technique and sincere approach to Bach. 

Reviewed by Eugene Ormandy

Biography for Hungarian Pianist and Professor, Sari Biro:

Her talent for the piano was evident by the age of four. Her first professional engagements were performances for the neighbors, and she was amply paid in candy. She soon began lessons at Budapest’s Fodor Music School with Gyorgy Kalman, who had studied with a pupil of Franz Liszt.

At thirteen, she performed the Chopin E-minor Concerto with the Royal Opera House Orchestra, Istvan Kerner conducting. Sari Biro was awarded a scholarship to the Franz Liszt Royal Academy of Music, and received an Artist Diploma in 1930, at the age of twenty.

Of her graduation recital, Budapest’s Pesti Naplo wrote:

“She is a fully independent talent, whose artistic taste, lofty imagination and virtuosity secure her a distinguished place (among) the great pianists.”

Sari Biro was heard throughout Europe in recitals and with orchestras in Berlin, London, Warsaw, Rome, Milan, Amsterdam, The Hague, Zurich, Stockholm, Salzburg, Prague, Paris, and Vienna. She was also frequently featured on Hungarian Radio’s broadcasts, but her recordings of these performances were destroyed during World War II.

Sari Biro immigrated to the United States of America in 1939 and gave her debut recital in New York at Carnegie Hall on May 6, 1940. The critics were unanimous in their praise, and these reviews launched her American career

The New York Times wrote:

“Sari Biro…must be reckoned among the foremost women exponents of the keyboard….” Soon after, she was a soloist in Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy.

In the ensuing years, Biro played hundreds of recitals in the United States, Europe, South America, Mexico, and Cuba; and was soloist with numerous orchestras. New York’s WABF, the first commercial radio station to broadcast live classical music on FM, inaugurated these broadcasts with thirteen weekly live recitals by Biro.

In 1949, she performed nine piano concerti in three consecutive programs at Carnegie Hall, the only woman to do so. She gave the New York premiere of the Milhaud Concerto No. 2 and Leo Weiner’s Concertino. Previously that year, the U.S. State Department named her the “most distinguished new citizen of the year.”

Subsequently, she appeared on television in New York, and presented a series of thirteen live programs on San Francisco’s Public Television station KQED. In the scripts she wrote for these telecasts, she discussed the works she played and explained her teaching philosophy.

In the mid-1950s, the U.S. State Department sponsored her on a tour of German cities. For the next two decades, Biro performed in Europe, Asia, and the U.S., and was invited by the Indiana University School of Music to give master classes. She played her last New York recital at Tully Hall in 1972, and her last public recitals in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1980.

Sari Biro continued to teach privately in San Francisco, until August 1990, passionate about transmitting to future generations of pianists the knowledge acquired from a life-long study of music, and the wisdom derived from her years of performing.

My Piano Performance from My Mother

Mary Heitman, Pianist and Professor:

 Today your piano playing sounds like Horowitz. 
        Reviewed by Mary Heitman, Pianist and Professor

The Juilliard School Influences

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