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Anthony di Bonaventura

Anthony di Bonaventura (1929–2012) was an American pianist and Professor of Music at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts for 40 years. Bonaventura began piano studies at the age of three and gave the first professional concert at the age of four. He won a scholarship to New York’s Music School Settlement at six. At thirteen, he appeared as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic. At sixteen, he became the pupil of the celebrated Russian teacher Isabelle Vengerova and later entered the Curtis Institute of Music, where he graduated with highest honors.

Enthusiastic acclaim by critics and audiences came early in his career. After his Washington debut, Paul Hume of the Washington Post wrote: “He can stand with the great players of Mozart's keyboard music.” His performances in an early European tour led to his selection by the great conductor Otto Klemperer to perform the complete Beethoven Concerti at the London Beethoven Festival.

Many distinguished composers, including György Ligeti, Luciano Berio, Alberto Ginastera, Milko Kelemen and Vincent Persichetti wrote works specially for him. He premiered Ligeti’s Piano Concerto (1986), Ginastera’s Piano Sonata No. 2 (1992), Berio’s Points on the Curve to Find (1975), and Persichetti’s Piano Concerto (1968). In 1991, he performed the Netherlands premiere of Witold Lutosławski’s Piano Concerto, with the composer conducting.

He made a number of recordings. His recording of Claude Debussy's Études was described by the Boston Globe as “one of the wonders of the world.” Other recordings include 14 of Scarlatti's Keyboard Sonatas, and Rachmaninoff’s Preludes, Op. 32.

In 1953, Bonaventura was married to Sara Roosevelt, a granddaughter of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Together they had five children, who they raised together until their divorce in 1972. Bonaventura died in Boston, Massachusetts, aged 83. Among his notable pupils were Fabio Parrini, Horia Mihail, Aidas Puodziukas and his protégé, Konstantinos Papadakis.

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