Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Arthur Gold and Robert Fizdale

Duo-pianists Arthur Gold (1917-1990) and Robert Fizdale (1920-1995) made their professional debut in 1944 when they premiered two works by John Cage for prepared pianos. During subsequent decades they transformed duo-pianism through their increasing international acclaim and contributions of new repertoire by commissioning 23 two-piano works from renowned composers such as Francis Poulenc (Sonata for Two Pianos), Samuel Barber (Souvenirs), Darius Milhaud, Ned Rorem, Virgil Thomson, John Cage, and Paul Bowles. They also revived neglected works, most notably the two early duo concertos by Felix Mendelssohn.

The photo above dates from 1967.

The pianists created a dynamic and emotional experience for their audiences through their artistry, dazzling virtuosity, impeccable ensemble skills, and thorough attention to musical details. Because of their mass public appeal, Gold and Fizdale became the first duo-piano team to sign a recording contract with a major label, Columbia Records.

Both Gold and Fizdale were of Russian Jewish descent, and they met while they were students at Juilliard, forming a lifelong gay partnership based around their common interests of music, travel and cooking. Gold, who was born in Toronto, Canada, moved to NYC to study at Juilliard, and Chicago-born Fizdale arrived at the school three years later. They became important fixtures in New York City's artistic community and were known as “The Boys” by their close friends. They spent many months in Europe, notably Paris and Rome, and befriended composers of the group known as “Les six.” The French Government appointed Mr. Fizdale a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

When Gold began having problems with arthritis in his hands in the late 1970s, the duo turned their attention to literary projects, publishing biographies of Misia Sert (1981) and Sarah Bernhardt (1991). The couple began writing food articles for Vogue magazine and launched a television cooking show. They were also contributing editors of Architectural Digest magazine. In 1984 they published "The Gold and Fizdale Cookbook", dedicated to their friend George Balanchine, "In whose kitchen we spent many happy hours..."

Gold and Fizdale perform
Poulenc's Concerto for Two Pianos
New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein:

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