Born: June 3, 1925 - Bucharest, Romania
Died: January 30, 1978 - Istanbul, Turkey
The Romania-born Israeli pianist, Mindru Katz, is considered one of the truly great masters of the piano by music connoisseurs world-wide. Recognised as a child prodigy by George Enescu, Katz was recommended to the distinguished piano pedagogue Florica Musicescu, who also taught Dinu Lipatti. Katz graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in Bucharest in 1947.
In 1947 Mindru Katz also made his debut as a pianist with the Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra, and then played in Eastern Europe. He made his Western Europe debut in Paris in 1957. In 1959 he immigrated to Israel, but continued to make extensive tours. He performed in over 40 countries with such illustrious conductors as Sir John Barbirolli, Sergiu Celibidache, Antal Doráti, Joseph Krips, Lorin Maazel, and Alfred Wallenstein. Among the orchestras he played with were the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, and Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
Mindru Katz' repertoire covered the piano concertos of Aram Chatschaturian and Sergei Prokofiev, as well as the piano works of J.S. Bach and L.v. Beethoven. With Henryk Szeryng he played the violin sonatas of César Franck and Johannes Brahms. His recordings have long been considered by critics and the public as some of the best interpretations of the respective works. The Gramophone Magazine stated: "This is piano playing of the highest quality. It compels attention. It manages to be both technically brilliant and full of poetry....It's tremendous."
Mindru Katz was an important asset to the musical life of Israel. By bringing his superb artistry as a performer and his immense musical knowledge as a master teacher, he had great impact on the level of piano culture and performance practices in Israel. He joined the faculty of the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv, becoming a professor of piano there in 1972. Among his pupils was Benjamin Erlich. At the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv in 1974, Mindru Katz was a member of the jury, together with Arthur Rubinstein himself, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Eugene Istomin and others. He died on stage at the untimely age of 52 while performing L.v. Beethoven's Tempest sonata in a recital in Istanbul.