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HomeCelebrityByron Janis, Pianist of Romantic Ardour, Dies at 95

Byron Janis, Pianist of Romantic Ardour, Dies at 95


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Mr. Janis withdrew from the live performance stage — briefly, because it turned out — and devoted himself to songwriting, a pastime of his youth that he had given up when his touring schedule turned too demanding.

With the encouragement of the folks singer Judy Collins, he despatched a tape of his songs to Warner Chappell, the music writer, which engaged him to compose 22 songs for a theatrical setting of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” with lyrics by Hal Hackady and a ebook by Anthony Scully. The present had its premiere on the Westbeth Theater, in Manhattan, in 1993.

Additionally amongst Mr. Janis’s works was an incidental rating for “Cooper and Hemingway: The True Gen,” a 2013 documentary in regards to the relationship between Ernest Hemingway and Mr. Janis’s father-in-law, the actor Gary Cooper. Mr. Janis and Maria Cooper married in 1966. An earlier marriage, to June Dickson Wright, led to divorce. Mr. Janis had one son, from his first marriage, Stefan, who died in 2017.

Within the mid-Nineties, Mr. Janis returned to performing, gingerly at first, giving brief performances at profit concert events, at which he shared the invoice with different performers, and dealing his approach as much as a program of works by Mozart, Schumann, Chopin and Prokofiev for an Alice Tully Corridor recital in 1998 that commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of his Carnegie Corridor recital debut.

Born Byron Yanks in McKeesport, Pa., on March 24, 1928, he grew up in Pittsburgh, the place his father, Samuel, owned a sporting items retailer. The elder Mr. Yanks had modified the household title from Yankilevitch earlier than his son was born, and he would change it twice extra — to Jannes and, lastly, Janis — by 1943.

Mr. Janis’s mom, Hattie, was a homemaker. She first observed her son’s musical expertise when he was given a xylophone, round age 5, and shortly started choosing out melodies. When he started correcting errors his older sister Thelma made whereas working towards for her piano classes, Mr. Janis’s mother and father allowed him to have classes of his personal.

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