Michael Ponti

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Michael Ponti (born October 29, 1937 in Freiburg im Breisgau ) is an American pianist who was born in Germany and was partially trained.


Ponti is the son of a US Army press officer . He studied piano in Washington, DC with Gilmour McDonald (student and former assistant to Leopold Godowsky ) from 1945 to 1955 and with Erich Flinsch (once student and assistant to Emil von Sauer ) at the Frankfurt University of Music from 1955 to 1961, after the father again had been transferred to Germany. His international career began with 1st prize in the Busoni competition in 1964, after he had already received 4th prize in 1956 and 3rd prize in 1958.

Ponti was considered a pianist who seeks technical difficulties; a piano recital in London included six of Liszt's Études d'exécution transcendante , followed by the Chopin Etudes op. 25 , the Symphonic Etudes and the Toccata by Schumann, and ended with Scriabin's 4th Sonata. On his New York debut, he played for three hours and gave nine encores. From 1977 to 1999 Ponti also played in a trio with the American violinist Robert Zimansky and the cellist Jan Polasek and appeared as an accompanist for Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in a selection of songs by Charles Ives .

In the early 1970s, Ponti recorded a large number of unknown romantic piano concertos for Vox / Turnabout , mostly in world premiere recordings, as well as the complete solo works of several composers, including Scriabin , Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky . His discography, mainly from this period, therefore comprises more than 80 records. He later recorded for the French label Dante and Naxos .

In 2000, Ponti suffered a stroke , after which he could no longer use his right hand. Since 2002, Ponti occurs with repertoire for the left hand alone, as from the armed pianist Paul Wittgenstein commissioned given works on. The composer and conductor Paul Theissen wrote a piano concerto for the left hand for Ponti, with whom he had already worked before the stroke.

Ponti lives in the north of Garmisch-Partenkirchen .

Individual evidence

  1. a b http://www.swr.de/swr2/programm/sendung/musikstunde/-/id=2632040/property=download/nid=659552/jkvlt4/swr2-musikstunde-20071103.rtf
  2. a b http://www.naxos.com/person/Michael_Ponti/614.htm
  3. http://www.robertzimansky.ch/biografie.cfm


  • Thomas Schipperges: as a life's work - romance as a life's work - virtuosity as a life burden. Michael Ponti, the fabulous pianist and early archaeologist of 19th century music on his 80th birthday, in: Music in Baden-Württemberg. Yearbook 2017/18 , vol. 24 (anniversary volume), ed. by Bärbel Pelker, Stuttgart 2018, pp. 303–309.