Earl Wild

Earl Wild

Birth
Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 23 Jan 2010 (aged 94)
Palm Springs, Riverside County, California, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend
Memorial ID 47027061 · View Source
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Pianist. Though best known for performing the virtuoso showpieces of such composers as Franz Liszt and Sergei Rachmaninoff, he demonstrated mastery of works from Bach to the modern era. Raised in Pittsburgh, he showed his talent by the age of three, imitating at the piano operatic overtures that he heard on his parents' phonograph. Wild started formal study at four, with some of his teachers having learned from the 19th. century masters; he began giving public recitals at 12, joined the Pittsburgh Symphony at 14, and, at 15, performed the Liszt Piano Concerto No.1 with Maestro Dimitri Mitropoulos and the Minnesota Symphony. While an undergraduate at Carnegie Tech (now, Carnegie Melon), Wild studied piano, bass, flute, and cello, then joined NBC as a pianist in 1937. Highlights of his brief time with the network included the first televised piano recital in 1939, and a 1942 radio concert of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue", under Maestro Arturo Toscanini. During WWII, Wild served as a flutist in the Navy Band, was piano soloist with the Navy Orchestra, played for FDR at the White House, and toured with Eleanor Roosevelt, performing the National Anthem before her speeches. Leaving the Navy in 1944, he became a pianist, composer, and conductor for ABC; his tenure there continued until 1968, and saw him tour extensively, giving the world premiere of Paul Creston's piano concerto in 1949 (he was also to play the 1970 first performance of David Levy's Piano Concerto No.1), and accompaning violinist Mischa Elman, and singers Zinka Milanov, Jan Peerce, Robert Merrill, and Maria Callas. His Easter oratorio, "Revelations", had its debut in 1962; among his other compositions were "The Turquoise Horse" (1976) and the 1992 "Doo-Dah", variations on Stephen Foster. Wild taught extensively over the years at Juilliard, Eastman School of Music, Penn State, Ohio State, Carnegie Melon, and elsewhere. His recorded output was massive and varied, ranging from Mozart, to the Romantic concertos, to many of his own transcriptions, and extending from the late 1930s until he was well past 90. He was awarded the Liszt Medal by Hungary in 1968, and garnered a 1997 Grammy Award for "Earl Wild: The Romantic Master". Wild gave his final concert in February, 2008, but continued private teaching to the last week of his life. He died of congestive heart failure.

Bio by: Bob Hufford


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 23 Jan 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 47027061
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Earl Wild (26 Nov 1915–23 Jan 2010), Find A Grave Memorial no. 47027061, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.