Renowned American pianist and pedagogue Thomas Hecht is the founding Head of Piano Studies at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore.
Over the span of three decades he has concertised on five continents as concerto soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and as a member of the acclaimed duo-piano team of Hecht & Shapiro, winners of the Munich International Two Piano Competition and USA National Duo Piano Competition.
Professor Hecht has performed in many of the world's cultural centres, appearing with leading orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Stuttgart Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Johannesburg Festival Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia, Singapore Symphony Orchestra and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
Highlights of concert tours include performances at the Lincoln Center in New York, Berlin Philharmonic Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, and recitals in Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Italy, Serbia, Montenegro, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Artsakh, South Africa and throughout all the major centres of Australia and New Zealand.
He has performed over a dozen different concerti in recent seasons, including the Asian premiere of Thomas Ades’ Concerto Conciso in Singapore.
Dr. Hecht is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory where he won first prize in the concerto competition and the Kaufmann Award for excellence in chamber music. Later he was accepted for graduate studies at the Peabody Institute as a student of Leon Fleisher, who was so impressed with the young pianist's abilities that he was soon asked to become his mentor’s teaching assistant, an honour which Fleisher - one of the great pianists of our time - had never before bestowed on any pianist. His merits and many noteworthy achievements were later celebrated at Peabody, where he was then presented with the coveted Young Maestro Award, honouring alumni who have distinguished themselves in their performing careers.
Professor Hecht also enjoys a well-deserved reputation as one of the leading teachers of his generation, having produced a multitude of first prizewinners in solo and two piano competitions throughout the United States, Europe and Australasia. He has been invited for master classes at the Royal Academy, Royal Northern and Royal Welsh Colleges of Music, the Paris, Eastman, Oberlin, Sydney, Beijing and Sichuan Conservatories and the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts. Guest residencies have included the Conservatoire de Paris, the Sibelius Academy, the Guildhall College of Music & Drama, the Peabody Institute and the University of Trossingen. He receives regular invitations to summer piano festivals, including performances in Sydney, Beijing, Wellington, Engadin, Lausanne, Chethams, Taichung, Bavaria, Artsakh and Brasov (where he is Honorary Professor of Piano at the University of Transylvania), and continues to be in demand for workshops and pedagogy conferences throughout the world. Two of his Singaporean protégés, Abigail Sin and Mervyn Lee, have been named Young Steinway Artists.
Thomas Hecht is a Steinway Artist and has recorded for the Steinway Spirio piano as well as the Delos, Azica, Elysium and Atoll labels. His next recording on the Master Performers label of Beethoven, Brahms and Barber will be released in early 2020.
Hecht possesses a rich artistic spirit and highly developed technique…a velvety way with sonorities, seamless phrasing and expert pianistic skill.
The Orchestra offered splendid support to Thomas Hecht’s commanding presence and keyboard heroics in Brahms’ First Piano Concerto. While dishing out big-boned playing in fearless octaves, chords and trills, Hecht also exuded tenderness and an aura of genuine vulnerability, no better displayed than in the slow movement. He caressed the piano rather than merely finegering it, laying bare the music’s sorrow filled, inner soul.
The Mussorgsky retained all its freshness and sounded both magnificent and witty, representing a true virtuoso and, above all, a perfect performance from a pianist. His is already the concert event of the season here.
The presentation was most impressive. Here was a reading that took up an interpretive position at the emotional epicenter of the concerto. Hecht brought an extraordinary range of tone colors to his performance, so bringing freshness to familiar notes. It was a tour de force...
His performance [of the Pictures] appealed to me just as much as the one from Richter’s 1958 Recital…Hecht demonstrated a superb sensitivity to the character of each piece...a delicately etched performance…Hecht’s big tone carried the composer’s message powerfully across. VOTED IN THE TOP 10 PERFORMANCES
The majesty came in the second half with Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto. The grandiloquent cadenza on the outset had a freedom which defined the rest of the performance. He did not merely interpret but lived Beethoven’s angst of deafness and despair, evidenced by the angry crashing chords, vehement octaves and paradoxically scintillating finger work…poetry reigned unabated before the life-affirming Rondo romp of the finale. Hecht’s intentions made for a riveting performance from start to end. Two solo encores, by Beethoven and Soler, sealed an enthralling journey from darkness to light.
The artist performed with a firm technique and outstanding command of the instrument…his capabilities are balanced by an ease and breadth of musical expression.
It was a great pleasure to welcome pianist Thomas Hecht as soloist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra…he can come back any time if he promises to bring with him such technical command and stylish approach.
Thomas Hecht is a musical force to be reckoned with, a powerful performer whose solo concert marked the end of an outstanding series. Hecht, the effervescent showman, delivered his all at the piano, bringing a community of music lovers together in appreciation for what beautiful sounds can do for our souls.