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Sidney Foster (Piano)

Born: May 23, 1917 - South Carolina, USA
Died: February 7, 1977 or February 1, 1977 - Bloomington, Indiana, USA

The American pianist, Sidney Foster, played to Josef Hofmann and therefore was admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. There, Foster first studied with the legendary Isabelle Vengerova and later with David Saperton. Because of his talent, he developed a special relationship with Saperton. It was Foster, along with others, who sat with Saperton, day after day for many hours while he agonized over the different test pressings of 10 Frédéric Chopin-Leopold Godowsky Etudes recorded for RCA Victor in 1940. They were never released because of the outbreak of World War II. The metal masters were melted down for the war effort. When David Sapertons 1950s recordings were once again made available on the I.P.A. label in 1977, it was Sidney Foster who wrote the liner notes. He had just finished writing the notes when he died on February 7, 1977.

Sidney Foster was not only Sapertons greatest disciple, but he was also a significant pianist whose importance has been lost in time. (Among many others). Norman Dello Joio composed his Sonata No. 3 in 1947 for Sidney Foster. He was was a highly sought-after teacher and occasional performer. He spent many years at Indiana University-Bloomington and was responsible for bringing many fine pianists to the fore during his lifetime. Among his pupils were: Hans Boepple, Patricia Brady, Carlisle Floyd, J. Robert Floyd, Robert Hamilton, Ginger Yang Hwalek, Carolyn Hickson, Edward Kaizer, Thomas Mastroianni, Joseph Matthews, Benita Meshulam, Rebecca Shockley, Frances Webb, Paul Wirth, Veda Zuponcic, and many others

Sidney Foster made only a few commercial recordings, all out of print now, but whose work can be found on a 2-CD set issued by the International Piano Archives at Maryland. This set contains material recorded at live recitals between 1952 and 1969, and an Indiana University Faculty Recital given on March 5, 1959. The discs include Etudes by Felix Mendelssohn, L.v. Beethoven's Appassionata" some F. Chopins Etudes, a Nocturne (Op. 48/1), and three pieces from Franz Liszt's Years of Pilgrimage/2nd Year [Gondoliera, Canzone, and Taranetella], Palmgren's May Night; Delibes/Dohnányi Walts from Naila; Prokofiev Toccata, and the Leopold Godowsky Alt-Wien. The 1959 recital includes a thrilling performance of J.S. Bach's English Suite in A minor, BWV 807, Robert Schumann's Kreisleriana, Béla Bartók's Suite, Op. 14, Prokofiev's Sonata No. 33, and Albeniz's Evocation from Iberia. He also recorded the Clementi Sonatinas Op.36, 37, & 38 (Musical Heritage Society, 2-LP).

Sidney Foster was an impeccable musician, and one whose art has brought great enjoyment. He brought J.S. Bach's great keyboard work to great heights on a modern concert grand. The pulse of his playing, and the sheer technical dexterity was overpowering to hear.

"(Foster) was everything the connoisseurs claim he is: an interesting, original pianist, a master of tonal shading, an artist." - Harold C. Schonberg
"Sidney Foster proved himself a richly gifted performer ... (his) approach to the keyboard was of the noble, heroic type; (he) gave the concerto a reading in the grand manner." - New York Times

Source: The Classical Music Guide Forums (Author: Lance G. Hill, September 12, 2006); Bits & pieces from other sources; William Gallagher (September 2013); Death Records Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (June 2011, September 2013, June 2015); William Gallagher (September 2013)

Sidney Foster: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

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