Jeremy Siepmann is an internationally acclaimed writer, musician, teacher, broadcaster and editor. In recent years his series for Naxos Records – ‘Life and Works’ and ‘Classics Explained’ – have received exceptional accolades from critics and listeners on both sides of the Atlantic.
Though long resident in England, he was born and formally educated in the United States. On completing his studies at the Mannes College of Music in New York, he moved to London, at the suggestion of Sir Malcolm Sargent. After several years as a freelance lecturer he was invited to join the staff of London University. For most of the last thirty years he has confined his teaching activity to the piano. His pupils, many coming from abroad for purposes of study with him, include pianists of worldwide repute. He has also given numerous masterclasses on both sides of the Atlantic and has been on the regular staff of the Chethams International Summer School and Festival for Pianists since 2002. In January 2004 he was appointed Professor of Musical Aesthetics and the History of Piano Performance at the International Piano Academy, Lake Como, Italy, and has recently joined the panel of lecturers at the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education.
As a writer he has contributed articles, reviews, interviews and programme notes to numerous journals, recordings and reference works (including The New Statesman, The Listener, Encounter, The Musical Times, Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, Classical Music, Slavic Review and the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians) some of them being reprinted in book form (Oxford University Press, Robson Books). His books include highly acclaimed biographies of Chopin, Brahms, Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, two volumes on the history and literature of the piano, and an introductory survey of chamber music. From December 1997 to February 2010 he was the editor of Piano magazine, whose regular contributors included many of the world’s greatest pianists.
His career as a broadcaster began in New York in 1963 with an East Coast radio series on the life and work of Mozart, described by Alistair Cooke as “the best music program on American radio”. On the strength of this, improbably, he was hired by the BBC as a humorist, in which capacity he furnished weekly satirical items on various aspects of American life. After a long break he returned to broadcasting in 1977, and has devised, written and presented more than 1,000 programmes, including the international-award-winning series The Elements of Music.
In 1988 he was appointed Head of Music at the BBC World Service, broadcasting to an estimated audience of 135 million. He left the Corporation in Spring 1994 to form his own independent production company.