Melvin Stecher and Norman Horowitz
The brilliant duo-piano team of Stecher and Horowitz is unique among the distinguished group of American keyboard artists. Acknowledged as one of the leading duo-pianists of their generation, Melvin Stecher and Norman Horowitz are equally renowned as composers and music educators. The internationally acclaimed duo has been responsible for creating a major revival of interest in the two-piano concert. They have performed with overwhelming success both in recital and as soloists with orchestras, evoking lavish praise from critics and audiences throughout the United States, Canada, Central and South America, Europe, Israel, Japan and Australia. For almost five decades they afforded audiences the world over an unforgettable musical experience.
Pooling their prodigious talents as individual performers, they created a dynamic musical team for the performance of the great masterpieces of music written for two pianos. The distinguished American composer Walter Piston wrote and dedicated his Concerto for Two Pianos especially for Stecher and Horowitz, who premiered the work at the Dartmouth Congregation of the Arts in 1964. The unanimous enthusiasm for the concerto prompted Dr. Piston to produce a second version of the work for Two Pianos Soli, which Stecher and Horowitz have performed in more than 500 recitals in the United States and Europe. In April of 1974, they performed the Chicago premiere of the concerto with the Milwaukee Symphony on the occasion of the composer’s 80th birthday. During the Bicentennial celebrations, they performed the Concerto with the Amarillo Symphony in a special Bicentennial program and also played the Two Pianos Soli version of the work on their tour of more than 60 U.S. cities.
Melvin Stecher and Norman Horowitz became Stecher and Horowitz in 1951. Still in their teens, the two New York-born pianists had already made impressive solo debuts. Deciding to form a team, they made their first appearances on the major hotel circuit, playing everything from Gershwin to Chopin. In 1953, the debut of Stecher and Horowitz in their home town took place in the city’s best-known entertainment house. They were the first duo-piano attraction to be engaged at Radio City Music Hall, where they played a record 84 performances. For the following five consecutive years, they toured the United States and Canada playing 50 solo recitals plus 60 concerts as guest artists with the Roger Wagner Chorale. They also toured Central and South America under State Department sponsorship.
In 1968, their debut tour of Europe was a sensation. Appearing in Salzburg, Munich, Berlin, London, Copenhagen, Brussels, Stockholm and Amsterdam, the superb artistry of the two-piano team was rapturously received by audiences and lavishly praised by critics who compared them to the legendary duo-piano team of Busoni and Petri. As the leading Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel phrased it: “For the fans of the piano it was a feast, an ensemble such as is hardly achieved in Old Europe these days.” Since then, Stecher and Horowitz have returned to Europe as often as their schedule permits.
Several years ago, they added Jerusalem to their itinerary, and then gave repeat performances in Vienna, Cologne, Oslo, Amsterdam and London before returning to the United States for their tours of North America. They made three highly acclaimed appearances at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, both in recital and with orchestra within two seasons.
Noted performers and music educators, Stecher and Horowitz founded The Stecher and Horowitz School of the Arts in 1960. In 1975, the school in Cedarhurst, New York, became a non-profit educational institution for students of all ages and educational backgrounds. It has been highly regarded as a center for the encouragement of creative potential through its innovative learning programs. In addition to having served as educational consultants to the publishing firm of G. Schirmer, the duo-pianists have written and edited the Stecher and Horowitz Piano Library, a comprehensive teaching series. The scope of the library ranges from beginning piano material for the young student to the highly respected college text, Keyboard Strategies. Stecher and Horowitz are equally regarded for their unique piano clinics, a series of workshops for piano teachers which they have given throughout North America, Japan, and Australia.
Melvin Stecher and Norman Horowitz have been honored twice by the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) for “Distinguished Service to America” These occurred in 1988, at the MTNA National Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, where they were also the Convention Artists, and in 2012, at the National Convention in New York City. There, they were the opening guest speakers of the first Plenary Session and received the MTNA Award for Leadership: a special recognition given only at special times to recognize significant and lasting contributions to MTNA, music teachers, and the music teaching profession; and only the third recipients in the 136 year history of MTNA.
Messrs. Stecher and Horowitz are as passionate about their fourth career, The Stecher and Horowitz Foundation’s New York International Piano Competition, and its professional programs for young artists, including The Young Artists Series. In all these endeavors, the virtuosity and versatility of Stecher and Horowitz have earned them an unrivaled reputation and the greatest respect in the music world.