Lilian Kallir, piano

Lilian Kallir

Lilian Kallir was born in Prague of Austrian parents. Her early life was spent with her family fleeing the Nazis, first moving to Switzerland for a year, and then to New York. After enrolling at the Mannes School of Music and making her debut with the Philharmonic, she began a performing career that took her to Europe, South America and across the United States.

She married Claude Frank in 1959– the pianists met in 1947 as students at Tanglewood– and they frequently performed together. She joined the faculty of the Mannes College of Music in 1975. Frank and Kallir

Mrs. Kallir's keyboard personality was wrought not from pyrotechnics or technical brawn, but from a respect for a work's underlying structure, and, most of all, by bringing a human touch to the shaping of melodies. "Impeccable tone and refinement of phrasing," wrote former Philadelphia Inquirer music critic Lesley Valdes of Kallir's PCMS performance in 1990 of the Schumann Piano Quartet in E flat major with the Guarneri String Quartet. "The gradually escalated keynote octaves signaled her intent to create at every opportunity a polished tone; if tempos here and later signaled a note of caution, they allowed another slant of light - another romantic perspective - on this impetuous score."

As a chamber musician, Kallir partnered not only with the Guarneri, but also with the Cleveland, Emerson, Juilliard, and Tokyo quartets, as well as in Pinchas Zukerman, Yo-Yo Ma and Richard Stoltzman. She also frequently collaborated with her daughter, violinist Pamela Frank.