Pianist Byron Janis in conversation

Jan 9, 2018

Pianist Byron Janis in 2010
Credit Photo by Dario Cantatore/Getty Images

American pianist Byron Janis has been a powerhouse since 1942, when he played Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with conductor Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Orchestra. Janis was just fifteen years old.

The following year, Vladimir Horowitz accepted Janis as his very first piano student. Janis would go on to play with some of the greatest conductors and orchestras of the twentieth century, including Fritz Reiner, Antal Dorati, Kirill Kondrashin and Charles Munch.

Janis, who will turn 90 this year, has just released the second of a set of three albums. His most recent album features music that was secretly recorded during a series of recitals he gave in the Soviet Union in 1960. 

Janis spoke with Classical IPR's Amanda Sewell about what a lesson with Vladimir Horowitz was like, which conductors were his favorite to work with and the film about his life that Martin Scorcese is making. Listen to the entire conversation below.