The American pianist, Joseph Banowetz, studied first in in New York City with Carl Friedberg, a pupil of Clara Schumann. He continued his studies at the Vienna Akademie für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, where György Sándor, a pupil of Béla Bartók, was among his teachers. He graduated with a First Prize in piano performance, then being sent by the Austrian government on an extended European concert tour.
Joseph Banowetz has been heard as recitalist and orchestral soloist on five continents, with performances in recent seasons with such orchestras as the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra (formerly Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra), Moscow State Symphony, Prague and Bratislava Radio Orchestras, Budapest Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (on a twelve-concert national tour), Beijing Central Philharmonic, Barcelona Concert Society Orchestra, and Shanghai Symphony.
Joseph Banowetz is also internationally recognized as an author and editor. His book The Pianist's Guide to Pedaling (Indiana University Press, USA) has to date been printed in five languages. Many of his piano editions have been translated into Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. He has served on major piano juries such as the Arthur Rubinstein Master Piano Competition (Israel), the Scottish International Piano Competition (Glasgow), the Belarussian International Piano Competition (Minsk), the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition (USA), the 2001 World Piano Competition (USA) and the Antonin Dvorak International Piano Competition (Czech Republic). Banowetz has been invited to teach and lecture at many schools, including the St. Petersburg Conservatory, the Juilliard in New York City, London's Royal College and Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Artmúsic Escola de Música I Dansa of Barcelona , the Chopin Academy of Warsaw, Hong Kong's Academy for Performing Arts, and the national conservatories of Beijing, Shangai, and Guangzhou. To date, he has concertized in 30 countries worldwide, with most recent performances at festivals in the Czech Republic, Italy, Portugal, Spain and South Africa.
Joseph Banowetz has visited the People's Republic of China 11 times since 1983 both to perform and for master-classes. He has been soloist with such orchestras in China as the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Beijing Central Philharmonic, the Beijing Central Opera Orchestra, the Shanghai Symphony, and the Guangzhou Philharmonic. In 1984 he gave world-premiere performances and made recordings of the noted Chinese composer Huang An-Lun's Concerto No. 1 with the Central Opera Orchestra of Beijing and the Hong Kong Philharmonic for China Records and HK Records. This is the first time that a foreign artist has ever been officially invited both to give world-premiere performances and record a concerto by a composer from the People's Republic of China. In 1985 Joseph Banowetz was honored by the Shenyang Conservatory by being named "Permanent Visiting Professor". His book on pedaling has been translated into Chinese and published by the Shanghai Music Publishing House.
Joseph Banowetz has recorded twenty-four compact discs for the Naxos, Marco Polo, Warner Brothers, and Altarus labels, these including the Tchaikovsky Concerto No. 1, Franz Liszt Concertos and Totentanz, d'Albert Concertos, world-premiere recordings of all eight of the Anton Rubinstein piano and orchestra works, and solo repertory of J.S. Bach, Ferruccio Busoni, Balakirev, Chopin, Debussy, Leopold Godowsky, F. Liszt, Felix Mendelssohn, Schumann, Rubinstein and Stevenson. One of the Rubinstein orchestra and piano series was named by Fanfare Record Review (USA) as an outstanding international release for 1993, and a similar citation was given in 1987 by the German Music Critics Association for his world-premiere recording of works by Balakirev. Recently, Naxos has released Banowetz's recordings of the complete F. Liszt transcriptions of lieder by Robert and Clara Schumann, Chopin and F. Mendelssohn, Rubinstein's 24 Kamennoy-ostrow, and both piano concertos of Eugen d'Albert with the Moscow Symphony.
Joseph Banowetz has been described by Fanfare Record Review (USA) as "a giant among keyboard artists of our time", by Russia's News (Moscow) as "a magnificent virtuoso, who amazed the public by his deep understanding of the composer's spirit", and by Ruch Muzyczny (Warsaw) as "a virtuoso in the noblest sense of the word." In 1992, he was awarded the Liszt Medal by the Hungarian Liszt Society in Budapest, in recognition of his outstanding performances of F. Liszt and the Romantic literature.