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Ralph Berkowitz (Composer, Arranger)

Born: September 5, 1910 - New York City, New York, USA
Died: August 2, 2011 - Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

The American composer and painter, Ralph Berkowitz, enrolled in 1927 at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. He later became a member of the Institute's staff, teaching form and analysis, directing the Historical Series (concerts), and coaching vocal students. He remained in that position until 1940 when he became the accompanist for cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. He continued in that role for 30 years, appearing with Piatigorsky in recitals throughout the world until the cellist's death in 1972.

Ralph Berkowitz was executive assistant to Serge Koussevitzky at Tanglewood from 1946 to 1951. He became Dean of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood in 1951 and remained in that position until his resignation in 1964. In 1953, he took on the dual role of executive director and principal pianist of the June Music Festival in Albuquerque. After commuting from the East coast, for five summers, he moved to Albuquerque in 1958 and became business manager of the Albuquerque Symphony Orchestra. He resigned that post in 1969.

In addition to teaching, lecturing, and performing, Ralph Berkowitz was also a painter. His paintings, pastels, woodcuts, and drawings are in numerous private collections in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles and Albuquerque. In Albuquerque, he did a lecture series on television called The Arts consisting of 63 half-hour shows dealing with some aspect, of music, painting, or literature. He also had articles published by Penguin Books (London), Etude Magazine, and The Juilliard Review.

As a composer, Ralph Berkowitz wrote A Telephone Call, for singer and orchestra, based on a Dorothy Parker monologue. In March of 1992, he donated his personal papers, comprising photographs, correspondence, programs, and newspaper articles and clippings, to the International Piano Archives at the University of Maryland.

Source: International Piano Archives at Maryland, UM Libraries Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (June 2007)

Ralph Berkowitz: Short Biography | Piano Transcriptions: Works | Recordings | Other Arrangements/Transcriptions: Works | Recordings

Links to other Sites

International Piano Archives at Maryland, UM Libraries: Ralph Berkowitz




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