“I have admired and enjoyed through the years the outstanding and wonderful qualities of the Steinway Piano. I am looking forward with great pleasure to making music in America with an "old and trusted friend".”
Annie Fischer (1914-1995), a Hungarian pianist known for her Mozart performances and her prismatic approach to early Romantic repertory, played with an intensity of concentration and focus that seemed at odds with the poetry and impetuousness of her interpretive style. She shunned the machinery of modern career-making and rarely gave interviews. Preferring not to be far from Budapest, she performed mostly in Europe, although she undertook several brief tours of the United States over her last 13 years. And because she disliked making recordings, the comparatively few disks she recorded for Deutsche Grammophon and EMI are prized by collectors.
Miss Fischer was born in Budapest and studied with Anton Szekely and Ernst von Dohnanyi at the Franz Liszt Academy. She made her debut in Budapest when she was 8, and toured as a concerto soloist when she was 12.
Her mature career began in 1933 when she toured Europe as the first prize winner in the Franz Liszt International Piano Competition. In 1935, she married the musicologist and conductor Aladar Toth. In 1941, they left Hungary for Sweden, and Miss Fischer suspended her performing career during World War II. She began touring Europe again in 1946, after she and her husband returned to Budapest. However, she did not make her United States debut until 1961, when she played the Mozart Concerto in E flat (K. 482) with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.
Her American performances thereafter were sporadic, and she made her belated Carnegie Hall recital debut in 1982. In recent seasons, she gave recitals every two or three years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Early in her career, Miss Fischer developed a large repertory that ranged from Bach to Bartok, but her Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann performances were always singled out for particular praise. Critics often noted that her appeal was in her interpretations rather than in her technique. She could expand rhythms beyond their natural boundaries, and particularly in her later years, complete accuracy in dense passages sometimes eluded her. Yet the impression one carried away from her performances was of an insightful and intensely musical player.
Miss Fischer was awarded the Kossuth Prize by the Hungarian Government three times in her career as a pianist.