Leonid Hambro



Competition Winner

Born: January 26, 1920 (Chicago, IL)

Died: October 23, 2006 (New York, NY)

Leonid Hambro was born in Chicago. His father was a pianist accompanying silent films.  Hambro was a child prodigy and gave his first recital at age 5. He studied at the Juilliard School of Music on a scholarship. In 1946, he was a winner of the Naumburg Foundation.

Hambro was the official pianist of WQXR, New York from 1946 to 1962. He made more than 100 recordings during his career and was the pianist with the New York Philharmonic for many years. In addition, he performed with leading orchestras throughout the world and with conductors Arturo Toscanini, Eugene Ormandy and Leonard Bernstein.

Leonid Hambro was a skilled sight reader with an easy fluency at the keyboard. He also possessed a phenomenal musical memory and a keen ability to mimic other pianists. For ten years (1960-1970) he worked with Victor Borge as a musical sidekick and performed with Borge throughout the remainder of Borge's career. Mr. Hambro endured all kinds of impish mischief as Borge interrupted his playing, struggled with microphones and kept up a stream of comical commentary. Everything was improvised.

In 1970 he became the head of the piano department of the California Institute of the Arts in Santa Clarita and Assistant Dean of the School of Music, holding these posts until 1992. He was also artist in residence at the Aspen Institute.

Hambro played with the P.D.Q. Bach performances and the Hoffnung Musical Spoof Concerts. In addition, he published with Jascha Zayde, The Complete Pianist (Ludlow Music, NY).

Few pianists could match Mr. Hambro's broad repertoire. At a moment's notice, he could perform a selection from Bach, Chopin, Debussy or Shostakovich or perhaps his arrangement of "Anchors Aweigh."

Victor Borge, Sergio Franchi and Leonid Hambro


1946 Naumburg Competition

First Prize

Commissioned Works

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Naumburg Performances

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Recording Awards

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