Stecher and Horowitz Collection
In 1951 Melvin Stecher and Norman Horowitz became Stecher and Horowitz, one of the world’s leading duo piano teams. Their internationally acclaimed concert tours, spanning over five decades, and featuring a remarkable variety of new music and traditional masterpieces, have been instrumental in sparking renewed interest in two-piano concerts. Travelling with two Steinway grands, they have performed with overwhelming success both in recital and as soloists with orchestras in the United States, Canada, Central and South America, Europe, Israel, Japan and Australia. Several new works have been written for them, including the Concerto for Two Pianos, by the distinguished American composer Walter Piston, which was premiered by Stecher and Horowitz at the Dartmouth Congregation of the Arts in 1964.
Still in their teens, the two New York-born pianists Melvin Stecher and Norman Horowitz had already made impressive solo debuts prior to forming their duo-piano team. Making their first appearances on the major hotel circuit, they became the first duo-piano attraction to be engaged at the Radio City Music Hall, where they played a record 84 performances. For the following five consecutive years, they toured the US and Canada playing 50 solo recitals and 60 concerts as guests artists with the Roger Wagner Chorale. Throughout their performing career, Stecher and Horowitz appeared in concert in as many as 100 or more cities annually. In 1968, their debut tour of Europe was a sensation. With concerts in Salzburg, Munich, Berlin, London, Copenhagen, Brussels, Stockholm and Amsterdam, the superb artistry of the two-piano team was rapturously received by audiences and lavishly praised by critics who compared them to the legendary duo-piano team of Busoni and Petri. As the leading Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel phrased it: “For the fans of the piano it was a feast, an ensemble such as is hardly achieved in Old Europe these days.” Their recordings of duo-piano works by Brahms, Chopin and Milhaud were issued on Advance Records.
Commensurate with their concert activities, Stecher and Horowitz are prolific educators. In 1960 they founded the Stecher and Horowitz School of the Arts in Cedarhurst, NY, a highly regarded center for the encouragement of creative potential through its innovative learning programs until 1999. Since 2002, the Foundation has presented the New York International Piano Competition in New York City, a biennial event open to pianists ages 16–22. The NYIPC includes educational seminars, master classes, coaching, ensemble playing, and performances. A first in the world of competitions, no contestant is eliminated during the competition’s four rounds. The Foundation also presents a cash award to each of the contestants not receiving a major prize. The centerpiece of the New York International Piano Competition, a program that carries over into the Foundation’s Young Artists Series, is the commissioning of new works. For young pianists, the privilege of working side by side with a living composer allows for a dialogue rarely afforded a classical musician.
In addition to serving as educational consultants for the publishing firm G. Schirmer, they have written and edited the Stecher and Horowitz Piano Library, a comprehensive teaching series ranging from material for beginning students to the college text Keyboard Strategies.
Melvin Stecher and Norman Horowitz have been honored twice by the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) for "Distinguished Service to America". These occurred in 1988, at the MTNA National Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, where they were also the Convention Artists, and in 2012, at the National Convention in New York City. There, they received the MTNA Award for Leadership: a special recognition given only at special times to recognize significant and lasting contributions to MTNA, music teachers, and the music teaching profession; and only the third recipients in the 136 year history of MTNA.
Stecher and Horowitz have established the MTNA-STECHER AND HOROWITZ TWO PIANO COMPETITION, (ages 19-29) and the POWER OF INNOVATION AWARD (ages 35 and under). These two significant prizes emanate from the diversified career of the duo-pianists.
In 2016, Stecher and Horowitz were initiated into SAI as “National Arts Associates”. This is the highest honor Sigma Alpha Iota bestows to a man or woman who is nationally recognized for distinguished contribution to the arts. In all these endeavors, the virtuosity and versatility of Stecher and Horowitz have earned them an unrivaled reputation and the greatest respect in the music world.
The Stecher and Horowitz Collection consists of files encompassing a comprehensive documentation of their performing career. Included are programs, articles, reviews, publicity, itineraries and other related material. In addition, the collection contains extensive files relating to the Stecher and Horowitz School of the Arts, the New York International Piano Competition, and the Young Artists Series. The Stecher and Horowitz Collection is currently being processed.