Monday, April 17, 2017
Vlado Perlemuter (1904 –2002) was a Lithuanian-born French pianist and teacher.
Born to a Polish family in Kovno (now Kaunas in Lithuania), the family settled in France in 1907. In 1915, aged just 10, he was accepted by the Paris Conservatoire. At 15, he graduated from the Conservatoire, where he won the First Prize playing Gabriel Fauré’s Thème et variations before the composer, although Fauré was already deaf by that time.
In 1925 Perlemuter heard Jeux d'eau for the first time, and then he decided to study all the music of Maurice Ravel. In 1927 a friend of Perlemuter suggested him to send Ravel a letter to ask for coaching of his works. Ravel agreed and Perlemuter studied all of Ravel's solo works for piano with the composer himself for a period of six months at his home in Montfort l'Amaury.
As a Jew he was in danger in Nazi-occupied France, and was hunted by the Gestapo, barely managing to escape to Switzerland, where he lived until 1949. In 1951 he joined the teaching staff of the Paris Conservatoire.
His final years compromised by memory loss and failing sight, he died at the American Hospital in Paris in 2002 at the age of 98.