Leonard Pennario died very recently at 83 of complications from Parkinson's disease. He was not the product of a conservatory, but rather studied privately as a pupil of Guy Maier and Isabella Vengerova. At 12 he played the Greig Piano Concerto with the Dallas Orchestra and debuted at 19 at Carnegie Hall with the NY Philharmonic. He later played chamber music with Heifetz, Piatigorsky and Primrose, winning a Grammy Award. Miklos Rozsa's piano concerto was dedicated to Pennario, who premiered that work. Pennario toured the world many times playing in concerts and recitals. In the U.S. he played often with the NY Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra and at the Hollywood Bowl among others. He was one of the principal interpreters of Gottschaulk's music as well. Pennario made many recordings for Capital Records and other companies. I have his Rachmaninoff "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini", which I've always enjoyed. He is probably best remembered for his Romantic repertoire.

I attended one of Pennario's recitals at Lynn City Hall Auditorium (Lynn, Massachusetts) in 1962. He performed the Mozart Sonata in G, K. 283, two Chopin Etudes, Schumann's "Kreisleriana", Op. 16, five Debussy Preludes (Delphinian Dancers, Wind on the Plain, The Hills of Anacapri, The Engulfed Cathedral, and Fireworks), ending with Profokiev's Sonata No. 2. I recall that one of his encores was his own composition, "Midnight on the Cliffs", an ultra-romantic composition which made quite an impression on me at that time. (It was originally arranged for piano and orchestra as part of the soundtrack for the film, "Julie", 1956. See link below.) He played very well that day and was well received by the large audience. Afterward backstage, Mr. Pennario autographed my program, which I still have.