2019-08-21 17:23:44 UTC
"Askenase was born in Lemberg (1896) into a Jewish family. At the age of five he began playing the piano with his mother, a pianist and pupil of Karol Mikuli. He studied with Theodor Pollak, a professor and director of the Ludwik Marek School of Music in Lemberg, then with Emil von Sauer, a pupil of Liszt, at the Vienna Academy of Music. …
In 1919 he made his debut in Vienna, and subsequently toured throughout the world. He lived in Cairo and then Rotterdam, where he taught at the Conservatory of Music from 1937 to 1940. During the Second World War he hid in France. Askenase's first concert in Poland after World War II took place on 17 May 1946. In 1950 he became a naturalized Belgian citizen and from 1954 to 1961 he taught at the Brussels Conservatory of Music. He recorded extensively the works of Chopin for the Deutsche Grammophon label in the 1950s and 1960s. Stefan Askenase was also noted for his master-classes in Hamburg, Cologne and Jerusalem. …
His pupils included Martha Argerich, László Gyimesi, John McKay, André Tchaikowsky and Mitsuko Uchida.
Stefan Askenase died in Bonn on 18 October 1985, shortly after giving a concert in Cologne."
I must have heard Askenase at least a dozen times in the 1950s. He never made a deep impression. Last week I decided to revisit one of his DGG recordings, on YT: the Chopin Preludes. It surprised me how a-typical - and polished - his interpretations are (compared with Rubinstein, Cortot, a.o.).
BTW, YT gives a reasonably truthful impression of how Askenase sounded in real life.