Ramon Salvatore was a Chicago-based pianist and teacher who was best known for championing neglected American piano repertory.
Described by the Chicago Tribune as “one of Chicago’s most important musical ambassadors,” and hailed by The New York Times for his “bravura performances” and “splendid audacity” in programming, Ramon Salvatore (1944-1996) commanded national attention as a pianist who combined rhythmic panache and warm lyric cogency with a pioneering spirit. Praised for his poetic standard repertory performances, he also won acclaim as a musical trailblazer, exploring still-undiscovered American terrain: the virtuoso piano music of our nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
A recipient of a major grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1990, Mr. Salvatore presented a three-concert series titled “American Piano Music in the Grand Tradition” at New York’s Weill Recital Hall, which he repeated at the Chicago Cultural Center. In that series, Salvatore uncovered over 120 years of masterly keyboard works that reflected international traditions, yet spoke with a distinctively American voice. Included were such diverse composers as Amy Beach, Paul Bowles, Aaron Copland, John Corigliano, Arthur Foote, John La Montaine, Hunter Johnson, Robert Palmer, Philip Ramey, and Wallingford Riegler. Most of the music from that landmark series has been recorded and enthusiastically reviewed on the Cedille and Premier labels. Mr. Salvatore also presented recitals at the National Gallery in Washington, New York’s Merkin Hall, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, the Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago and Los Angeles, and Detroit’s Cranbrook Series, and concertized widely abroad, giving recitals in Spain, Morocco, Scotland, and England.
== From the Cedille Records Website
== Links, in this box and below, refer to my interviews elsewhere on my website. BD
David Russell Burge (March 25, 1930 – April 1, 2013) was an
American pianist, conductor and composer. As a performer, he was noted
for championing contemporary pieces. The New York Times called
him "one of America's important pianists," and his concerts were described
as "an overwhelming experience" (Washington Post) presenting "masterful
artistry" (Baltimore Sun).
Burge was born in Evanston, Illinois. He studied at Northwestern University for his bachelor's and master's degrees. Later he attained the Doctor of Musical Arts degree and an artist's diploma from the Eastman School of Music, and he studied at the Cherubini Conservatory, Florence as a Fulbright scholar.
While on the faculty at the University of Colorado in Boulder during
the 1960s and 1970s, Burge founded and directed the Colorado Festival
of Contemporary Music, and he was also Musical Director and Conductor
of the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra.
During that period, George Crumb collaborated with Burge while writing Makrokosmos, a series of four volumes of pieces for piano. Makrokosmos, Volume I was composed in 1972 for Burge, who had previously commissioned and premiered Crumb's Five Pieces for Piano (1962). The Nonesuch recording of Makrokosmos, Vol. I was nominated for a Grammy. Burge also worked with composers such as Ernst Krenek, Luciano Berio, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, and singers including Cathy Berberian and Bethany Beardslee.
After leaving the University of Colorado, he chaired the Piano Department at the Eastman School of Music for many years. Over his career, he gave more than 1,000 concerts in the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, composed more than 100 works, authored the book Twentieth-Century Piano Music (Shirmer Books, 1990), wrote prize-winning columns for Keyboard Magazine, Clavier and The Piano Quarterly.
In 1993, Burge moved to San Diego with his wife, Liliane Choney, and served as composer-in-residence for the San Diego Ballet. His ballet scores became increasingly well known outside the San Diego area, with over thirty performances in the United States and abroad.
In early 2002, Burge and Crumb were appointed to a joint residency
at Arizona State University. He accepted visiting professorships not
only at many universities and conservatories in the United States but
also in Denmark, Turkey, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Sweden, and Korea.
© 1991 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded in Chicago on February 16, 1991. Portions were broadcast on WNIB the following month, and again in 1994 and 1999; and on WNUR in 2011 and 2012. This transcription was made in 2020, and posted on this website at that time. My thanks to British soprano Una Barry for her help in preparing this website presentation.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.