Abbey Simon



Competition Winner

Born: January 8, 1920 (New York, NY)

Died: December 18, 2019 (Geneva, Switzerland)

Abbey Simon was an American concert pianist, teacher, and recording artist. He was a  winner of the 1940 Walter W. Naumburg Foundation. As part of his Naumburg prize, Simon made his NY debut in Town Hall. Harold C. Schonberg of The New York Times hailed him as a "supervirtuoso."

Simon began his piano studies with David Saperton at age five, and at age eight, he was accepted by Josef Hofmann as a scholarship student at the Curtis Institute where his classmates included Jorge Bolet and Sidney Foster. Simon also studied with Leopold Godowsky, Dora Zaslavsky and Harold Bauer. After Army service in World War II he resumed a career, touring nationwide.

Simon appeared on concert stages throughout the world since the early 1940s. He toured in Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific. Among orchestras he appeared with: New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra.

Simon recorded extensively on the VOX, Philips, and HMV labels. His discography includes the complete works of Chopin and Ravel, as well as works by Brahms, Schumann and all of the piano concerti of Rachmaninoff with Leonard Slatkin and the St. Louis Symphony.

A renowned teacher, from 1977 until his retirement in April 2019, he was the Cullen Distinguished Professor of Music at the Moores School of Music, University of Texas, Houston. From 1960 to 1974, he was a faculty member at Indiana University. He also taught at Hunter College, and The Juilliard School. Simon gave master classes at the Royal Academy in London, Royal Conservatory of the Hague, and the Geneva Conservatory.


1940 Naumburg Competition

First Prize

Commissioned Works

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Naumburg Performances

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Recording Awards

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