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Ramon Salvatore was a Chicago-based pianist and teacher who was best known for championing neglected American piano repertory.
Described by the Chicago Tribune as “one of Chicago’s most important musical ambassadors,” and hailed by The New York Times for his “bravura performances” and “splendid audacity” in programming, Ramon Salvatore (1944-1996) commanded national attention as a pianist who combined rhythmic panache and warm lyric cogency with a pioneering spirit. Praised for his poetic standard repertory performances, he also won acclaim as a musical trailblazer, exploring still-undiscovered American terrain: the virtuoso piano music of our nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
A recipient of a major grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1990, Mr. Salvatore presented a three-concert series titled “American Piano Music in the Grand Tradition” at New York’s Weill Recital Hall, which he repeated at the Chicago Cultural Center. In that series, Salvatore uncovered over 120 years of masterly keyboard works that reflected international traditions, yet spoke with a distinctively American voice. Included were such diverse composers as Amy Beach, Paul Bowles, Aaron Copland, John Corigliano, Arthur Foote, John La Montaine, Hunter Johnson, Robert Palmer, Philip Ramey, and Wallingford Riegler. Most of the music from that landmark series has been recorded and enthusiastically reviewed on the Cedille and Premier labels. Mr. Salvatore also presented recitals at the National Gallery in Washington, New York’s Merkin Hall, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, the Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago and Los Angeles, and Detroit’s Cranbrook Series, and concertized widely abroad, giving recitals in Spain, Morocco, Scotland, and England.