November 1, 2018
Piano Stars Gather for a Legend’s 90th
Yana Paskova

By Michael Cooper, Oct 18, 2018, The New York Times

The virtuoso Gary Graffman, the teacher of Yuja Wang and Lang Lang, celebrated his birthday with musical royalty (and a grand-piano “Happy Birthday to You”).

It was his 90th birthday party on Sunday evening, and the pianist Gary Graffman was holding court.

Lang Lang, a former student and current superstar, bounded into Mr. Graffman’s apartment across from Carnegie Hall with a present.

“No, don’t get up,” Mr. Lang protested as Mr. Graffman rose.

“I want to show you that I can get up!” Mr. Graffman said with a laugh, putting down his mango-flavored vodka.

A few minutes later, the pianist Leon Fleisher arrived. “Somebody older than I am!” Mr. Graffman exclaimed, greeting Mr. Fleisher, his senior by a few months.

Many decades ago, the two were in the same generation of musicians, a group once jocularly called OYAPs: Outstanding Young American Pianists. When they sat down to catch up on a sofa in the living room, Emanuel Ax — yet another piano star — couldn’t resist snapping a photo.

It was one of those only-in-New-York nights, gathering enough musicians to headline several galas in celebration of a beloved figure in the classical music world. To get a sense of what all the fuss was about, here is a look back at highlights of Mr. Graffman’s storied career.

Read more here

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