The noted American pianist and teacher, Morton Estrin, began his earliest training at the age of 8 at the Mt. St. Mary’s Academy in Burlington, Vermont. He became widely known as a young performer on stage and radio, including appearances on the Major Bowes’ Amateur Hour. After the age of 14 he resided in Brooklyn, New York. He studied at the School of Education, New York University from 1942 to 1944 and at the Juilliard Graduate School in 1945. He studied first with Yetta-Posnak-Wendt, and later privately with Vera Maurina-Press, who became his principal teacher (1941-1949). Mme. Press instilled in him the Russian tradition, having herself studied at the Imperial Conservatory of Moscow under Ferruccio Busoni and Emil von Sauer. Estrin is proud to trace his musical lineage from Mme. Press back to Emil von Sauer, to Franz Liszt, to Carl Czerny, to L.v. Beethoven, and finally to Franz Josef Haydn!
In 1949 Morton Estrin made his debut at Town Hall, in New York, thereby officially launching his career. He went on to give performances throughout the USA and Europe, including appearances with orchestras at all the major concert halls in New York: Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, and at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. He made tours around the USA, to London, Amsterdam, Berlin (1982), etc.. In 1985, he gave two historic performances of the complete 24 Preludes of Sergei Rachmaninov; first at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and then at Alice Tully Hall in New York.
Known for his interpretations of Romantic music, Morton Estrin has recorded, over the years, well over one hundred works by many composers, including Johannes Brahms, Frédéric Chopin and Sergei Rachmaninov. Other notable recorded performances include: The first-ever reading of the complete set of Twelve Etudes, Op. 8 by Alexandre Scriabin for Connoisseur Society, awarded Best of the Year recognition by the New York Times and High Fidelity Magazine; Suite in D minor, Op. 91 by Joachim Raff, and Six Etudes, Op. 23 by Anton Rubinstein, recorded for Newport Classic; Works by American composer Meyer Kupferman, with whom Estrin had a long association were recorded on the Serenus label. These included his Sonata on Jazz Elements, Little Sonata, and Variations, all of which were composed especially for Estrin, and premiered by him. In 1963, Estrin gave a solo performance at Carnegie Recital Hall of several of these large and extremely complex works. Critics acclaimed the performance, entirely from memory, as a “dazzling achievement”. His recordings were also awarded Recording of Special Merit by Stereo Review Magazine in 1970, 1971, 1974, and One of the Year's Best Recordings by Saturday Review in 1970.
Morton Estrin has always enjoyed a dual career as both performer and teacher. As the latter, he has been since 1958, a Professor of Piano and Theory at Hofstra University (Long Island, New York), as well as having maintained a highly successful private teaching practice at his studio in Hicksville, New York (from 1942). Over the years, he has numbered his students in the hundreds. Among them are many who have gone on to successful musical careers of their own; pianist Jeffrey Biegel; pianist/teacher Lawrence Schubert; renowned assistant conductor and prompter at the Metropolitan Opera, Joan Dornemann; John Mauceri, conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra; Seth Carlin, artist-in-residence at Washington University in St. Louis; Mo., John Strauss, head of the Piano Department at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa; young singer, pianist, producer and composer, Annie Pasqua; young composer William Reed, and perhaps best known of all, Billy Joel and Deborah Gibson, whose early training they owe to Morton Estrin. Included in this impressive roster, are his own children, performers and teachers in their own right, pianist/composer Coren Estrin Mino, and pianist/composer/horn player, Robert Estrin.