Pianist Byron Janis has died at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. He was 95. Byron Janis was born as Yanks (shortened from Yankilevich) on March 24, 1928, in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh.

He started out playing the xylophone before moving with his mother, Hattie, and sister in 1936 to New York to study piano with Josef and Rosina Lhévinne and then Adele Marcus.

In 1944, Janis became Horowitz’s first student and made his orchestral debut with conductor Arturo Toscanini’s NBC Symphony Orchestra. At 18, he was signed by RCA Victor Records as its youngest artist.

During his 85-year career, Janis covered composers from Bach to David W. Guion and performed major piano concertos from Chopin, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Liszt and Prokofiev. He occupied two volumes of the 1999 Mercury Philips series Great Pianists of the 20th Century and recorded for Philips, EMI, Sony and Universal as well.

Later in his career, Janis devoted himself increasingly to composing. He began giving lessons in 1962 and taught at the Manhattan School of Music from 1987. He was also committed to supporting young artists and gave benefit concerts.

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