Byron Janis



The legendary American pianist Byron Janis, who turns 95 in March 2023, was the first pupil of another iconic pianist – Vladimir Horowitz. Horowitz famously told Janis “I don’t want you to be a ‘second Horowitz’ I want you to be a ‘first Janis’.” Janis certainly established himself on the world stage when he made his Carnegie Hall debut recital in October 1948, garnering a rave review from the New York Times’ Olin Downes who praised him as a distinctive artist in his own right destined for a major career.
Between 1960 and 1964 Janis made a set of remarkable recordings for the Mercury Living Presence label. The Janis-Mercury partnership proved to be a good fit with Mercury’s uniquely detailed and exciting sound quality, using three microphones for an entire symphony orchestra and piano. Janis welcomed the opportunity to expand his recorded repertoire with Mercury. These recordings have been lovingly restored from the original master tapes and remastered at 24bit 192kHz by mastering engineer Tom Fine and presented in original sleeves.
Included as a bonus CD in this edition is a concert recital from Leningrad (St Petersburg) from a historic 1960 visit to Soviet Union, recorded secretly by his Soviet hosts. Janis was the first American pianist to be sent to the Soviet Union to open the first formal cultural exchange – he would later be hailed as “an ambassador in breaking down ‘cold war’ barriers”.

Release date: 24 March, 2023