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Jakob Gimpel (April 16, 1906 – March 12, 1989)[1] was a Polish concert pianist and educator.

Jakob Gimpel was born in Lvov (then in Polish Galicia, part of the Austria-Hungarian Empire, and now Lviv, Ukraine). Gimpel's younger brother, Bronislav Gimpel, was a noted concert violinist, and his older brother, Karol Gimpel, was a pianist and conductor.[2][3]


Performing career

Gimpel began his piano studies with his father, Adolph, and later studied piano with Cornelia Tarnowska and Eduard Steuermann, and music theory with Alban Berg. Gimpel made his debut in Vienna, Austria, in 1923, with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, conducted by Pierre Monteux. He played Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto.[3]

Gimpel toured with violinists Bronisław Huberman, Erika Morini, Nathan Milstein, and his brother, Bronislav Gimpel.[3] In 1937, Gimpel helped Huberman to found the Palestine Symphony Orchestra, now the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Gimpel migrated to New York in 1938 and later moved to Los Angeles.

Film credits

Among Gimpel's film credits are recorded appearances in Gaslight, Possessed, Letter from an Unknown Woman, Strange Fascination, The Story of Three Loves, and The Mephisto Waltz. Gimpel also recorded music for two classic cartoons: Rhapsody Rabbit and the Academy-Award-winning Tom and Jerry short, Johann Mouse.[3]

Later years and honors

Gimpel was one of the first European-American artists to return to Europe after World War II; he played hundreds of concerts in West Germany in 1954. From 1971 to 1986, Gimpel was professor in residence at California State University, Northridge]] (CSUN).[3] He was awarded the West German Order of Merit, First Class, and, in 1975, the Ben-Gurion Award from the State of Israel.[2]

On May 9, 1979, Gimpel was scheduled to give a joint recital in Los Angeles with his brother Bronislav Gimpel. Bronislav died unexpectedly several days before the performance and Jakob played a solo recital in memory of his brother.[1]


  1. ^ a b Slonimsky, Nicolas; Theodore Baker (1992). Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Eighth Edition. New York, New York: Schirmer Books.  
  2. ^ a b "Jakob Gimpel, a Concert Pianist, Dies at 82". The New York Times.  
  3. ^ a b c d e Gimpel, Peter (2004). "Jakob Gimpel: A Biographical Essay". Jakob & Bronislaw Gimpel Archives.  

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