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Abram Chasins

Born in New York City, Abram Chasins studied at the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute and Columbia University. His major teachers included Ernest Hutcheson and Josef Hofmann. From 1926 to 1935, he taught at Curtis and, for a decade beginning in 1935, he was an outstanding pianist throughout the world, appearing in solo recitals and with leading orchestras everywhere. Besides his solo engagements and recordings, he also played and recorded duo-piano works with his wife, the pianist Constance Keene. Chasins became famous for many other aspects of his musical career as well. More than one hundred of his compositions have been published, performed and recorded. He attained an international reputation in his early 20s as a protege of Josef Hofmann. Subsequently, he became the first American composer of the younger generation to be performed by Arturo Toscanini; the great maestro chose his "Parade" and "Flirtation in a Chinese Garden" for a concert with the New York Philharmonic. Chasins retired from the concert stage in 1946 to devote himself entirely to the musical directorship of radio station WQXR, the radio network of the New York Times with which he had been affiliated since 1943. "Speaking of Pianists" (Alfred Knopf, 1957) was Chasins' first published book. Other volumes from his hand, among them "The Van Cliburn Legend" (Doubleday, 1959), "The Appreciation of Music" (Crown, 1966), "Music at the Crossroads" (MacMillan, 1972) and "Leopold Stokowski, A Profile" (Hawthorne, 1979), also won wide attention. Chasins died in 1987.