- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—Czech pianist Ivan Moravec, 84, died Monday in a Prague hospital after having been treated for pneumonia for several weeks, his New York agent said.

Born in Prague and especially loved for his Mozart, Chopin, Debussy, and Brahms interpretations, Mr. Moravec made his London debut in 1959, and his American debut in 1964 with the Cleveland Orchestra and George Szell.

His recordings — especially those of Chopin and Debussy — remain prized by collectors.

One frequent stop on his American calendar was Philadelphia, where he was heard both as a recitalist with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and in concertos with the Philadelphia Orchestra. “Moravec regards tone highly,” wrote an Inquirer critic of a 1987 Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2. “His Brahms was full of lights and singing groups of notes. The grand line of his playing was made of finely determined voicings, the way good choral singing can be. That approach removed any hint of the bluster of Brahms, and created instead a logically assembled series of musical scenes that accumulated power.”

Mr. Moravec was noted, too, for bringing a technician’s ear to pianos he found himself playing in various cities. He traveled with his own tool kit, he told The Inquirer, which “the hardship of life” had taught him to keep handy. “Making music is hard enough” without also having to contend with poor instruments.

After his Cleveland debut, Mr. Moravec performed with all major U.S. orchestras, maintained a busy European schedule, and in 2007-08 was a visiting humanities professor at Princeton University. He was awarded the Medal of Merit for Outstanding Artistic Achievement in 2000 by Czech Republic President Václav Havel.

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(c)2015 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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