top of page
The American pianist, John Browning was born to musical parents. Having studied piano from age 5, he appeared as a soloist with the Denver Symphony at 10. In 1945 his family moved to Los Angeles. He spent two years at Occidental College there. He began his studies at Juilliard in 1950. He won the Leventritt Competition in New York City in 1955, and made his professional orchestral debut with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 1956.John Browning was known for his reserved, elegant style and sophisticated interpretations of J.S. Bach and Scarlatti, and for his collaboration with the American composer Samuel Barber. In 1962 he gave the premiere of Samuel Barber's Pulitzer Prize-winning Piano Concerto, which was written for him, in connection with the opening of Lincoln Center. His second recording of the work, with Leonard Slatkin and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra in 1991 for RCA Victor, won a Grammy for best instrumental soloist with orchestra. He won a second Grammy in 1993 with a disc of Samuel Barber's solo works on MusicMasters. He continued to follow the works of contemporary American composers but found relatively few to his liking. Despite the competition from Van Cliburn and other virtuoso American pianists of the same generation, John Browning developed a busy career, giving some 100 concerts a season. He eased his schedule in the 1970's, explaining later that he had grown ragged from overwork. In the 1990's, his career had something of a renaissance. His last performance was, by invitation, at the United States Supreme Court in May 2002. His last public appearance was at the National Gallery of Art in Washington in April of that year. Browning is remembered for his penetrating, intellectual interpretations of J.S. Bach, F.J. Haydn, W.A. Mozart, and D. Scarlatti, among others, and for his many fine recordings of the works of these and other composers.
bottom of page