Robert Casadesus, pianist and composer
Born in Paris on 7th April 1899, died in Paris on 19th September 1972.
Robert Casadesus is today considered one of the greatest French pianists of the 20th century. Coming from a family of musicians, at the age of 14 he obtained a first prize in piano at the Paris Conservatoire and the Diémer Prize in 1920. The following year, he undertook his first European concert tours, thus beginning an international career that would last a half-century.
In 1935, Robert Casadesus performed in the United States for the first time. The next year, Toscanini invited him, and the success was immediate. This would mark the beginning of a great number of tours, especially in the United States, as well as some forty countries in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Japan.
His numerous public appearances (nearly 3,000 concerts) and abundant discography (some hundred recordings) gave him a renown that is still thriving today. He played with the greatest conductors of the time, such as Ansermet, Barbirolli, Beecham, Bernstein, Celibidache, Karajan, Krips, Mengelberg, Monteux, Munch, Mitropoulos, Ormandy, Rosbaud, Schuricht, Stokowski, Szell, Toscanini, Walter and Weingartner. He also loved sharing the stage with his wife, Gaby, his son Jean (both excellent pianists) and violinist Zino Francescatti, a friend with whom he formed a memorable duo in numerous concerts and recordings.
A teacher of international reputation, he was associated for nearly thirty years with the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, in France and the United States, as professor and director general.
A confirmed composer, he left a considerable catalogue consisting of 69 opus and including seven symphonies, several concertos (for piano, two and three pianos, violin, cello, flute) and numerous chamber works. Today, a growing number of recordings attest to the timeless appeal of his music.
Robert Casadesus passed away on 19th September 1972, shortly after the death of his son Jean.
He left behind him a cultural heritage that is one of its kind, his double vocation as performer and composer giving him the rare privilege of having been both an observer and the perpetuator of the principal French musical trends of the 20th century.
He was promoted to the rank of Commander of the Légion d’honneur, the Order of Léopold (Belgium), and the Order of Nassau (Netherlands).
With his wife Gaby (née L’Hote) he had three children: Jean, Guy and Thérèse.