American pianist Leonard Pennario has died, just two weeks short of his 84th birthday.
Pennario, born in Buffalo 9 July 1924, made his public debut at the age of 12, playing the Grieg concerto with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He is remembered for his chamber music collaborations with violinist Jascha Heifetz and cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. In the 1970s, Pennario expanded his audience appeal with more popular works by such composers as Gershwin and Gottschalk.
Pennario’s biographer, Mary Kunz Goldman, remembers Pennario’s enthusiasm for music lovers. Perhaps Pennario was thinking of Glenn Gould when he said, "You have to play for the people; you have to play for an audience. You can’t just go into the studio and make records, you know?"
Goldman says that Pennario died Friday (27 June 2008) at his home in San Diego of complications from Parkinson’s disease.