Francis Heilbut -Pianist


Born in Paris, pianist FRANCIS HEILBUT was brought to New York City as an infant by his refugee parents who have recently been documented in a Varian Fry Exhibit: Assignment Rescue. Mr. Heilbut began piano lessons at the age of five and was awarded the Maria Carreras piano scholarship at age seventeen, also pursuing chamber music with Artur Balsam, William Kroll and Paul Doktor. He participated and performed in the Blue Hill, Maine Festival, and also appeared as conductor in performances at the Domaine School of Conductors where for many seasons he was a scholarship pupil of Pierre Monteux. He attended both Columbia University and Mannes College of Music on scholarship, receiv1ng his degree from Columbia in Classical and Romance languages, cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. Mr. Heilbut has toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe as a solo pianist and with various ensembles. He has performed with such notable vocal celebrities as: Jerome Hines, Bianca Berini, Eleanor Steber, Evelyn Laye, Jerry Hadley, June Anderson, Hakan Hagogird, James King, George Shirley, Elisabeth Soderstrom, Martile Rowlandd, and Carol Brice. Mr. Heilbut was on the music staff of the Metropolitan Opera Studio and the New York City Opera. He was previously the first associate conductor of the Friends of French Opera. Frequently heard on radio and television, he also performed in the Spoleto, Italy, Festival of Two Worlds and premiered the Vaughan Williams Suite for Pianoforte at Carnegie Recital Hall. His repertoire includes the complete sonatas by Beethoven and Mozart.

In 1973 Mr. Heilbut founded American Landmark Festivals, a nonprofit corporation which, in cooperation with various host organizations including the National Park Service, US Department of the Interior, has presented thousands of performing arts and cultural events in landmarks of significance. These events have featured a wide variety of performing artists including vocalists, actors, instrumental soloists, chamber ensembles, symphony orchestras, operas, Tibetan monks and mime artists.

    Mr. Heilbut founded the Richard Tauber Institute of Vocal Art and co-founded the Busoni Foundation with Mrs. Hannah Busoni.