Yaara Tal

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Yaara Tal

Piano

• Born 1955

Biography

Pianist Yaara Tal is best known as one half of the duo-piano team of Tal & Groethuysen, one of the world's most prominent in that field. In the 2010s, however, she began to appear as a solo artist.

Tal was born in the small Israeli city of Kfar Saba on February 27, 1955. She attended the Samuel Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv, studying with Arie Vardi on piano and also taking composition courses with André Hajdu and Abel Ehrlich. Tal won a scholarship of the DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service, and moved to Germany for further studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich, although Israeli Jews were not common in Germany during this period. Her most important teachers there were Ludwig Hoffmann, Hugo Steurer, and later Peter Feuchtwanger, previously the teacher of Martha Argerich. In 1985, Tal and Andreas Groethuysen formed the Tal & Groethuysen piano duet. They joined forces initially for a single concert but decided to continue performing together, and they later married. Since then, the duo has performed widely in Europe and the U.S., appearing in such A-list halls as the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Wigmore Hall in London, and the Frick Collection in New York. In addition to familiar piano duo works, they exposed much of the neglected two-piano and four-hand repertory of the 19th century, giving world premieres of music by Reinhard Febel, Théodore Gouvy, and Charles Koechlin, among others.

Tal's recording career has also mostly been associated with Groethuysen. The duo began recording together in 1991, issuing an album of four-hands piano music by Carl Czerny on the Sony Classical label. They have remained with Sony Classical, making more than 30 recordings, including occasional albums for Oehms and other imprints. However, in the late 2010s, Tal began to issue solo albums, beginning with Polonaise (2017); the album traced the evolution of that form from Franz Xaver Mozart to Chopin. She followed that up with Love? Homage to Clara Schumann in 2019. That album covered composers within Clara Schumann's orbit, including Brahms, as well as many others who are completely obscure. Groethuysen was also featured, but Tal received top billing on the album. The Tal & Groethuysen duo also remained active and on tour as of 2020.

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