The English pianist, Peter Roy Katin, showed his musical talent already at the age of 4. He attended Whitgift School in South Croydon and was admitted to the senior department of the Royal Academy of Music when he was 12, four years before the official age of entry. He studied there under Harold Craxton. Katin made his debut at the Wigmore Hall on December 13, 1948, where the programme included works by Scarlatti, Mozart, L.v. Beethoven, Sergei Rachmaninov, Scriabin and Chopin. The success this concert started him on a career that has taken him throughout the world, including England, Europe, Africa, the USA, and Japan. In those earlier years he was greatly influenced by his meetings with Clifford Curzon, Claudio Arrau and Myra Hess, who gave him much advice for which he has always been deeply grateful.
His early successes seemed centred round the classical composers; Peter Katin was greatly in demand for Mozart concerto performances in particular and he also developed a rare talent for chamber music. In 1952, he debuted at The Proms. However, a performance of S. Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor in 1953 changed his image almost overnight. In 1958, he became the first British pianist to make a post-war solo tour of the Soviet Union. In 1961, the composer Bryan Kelly wrote Tango especially for Katin. He hailed as a virtuoso of the first order he was constantly in demand for the most taxing of romantic concertos until the late sixties, but by that time he decided that he needed to make a more in-depth study of the composers who had almost escaped him when he was immersed in the big major works.
The first composer in this specialised study was Chopin, and since that time Peter Katin has become regarded as one of the finest interpreters of this composer's music. He was sufficiently encouraged to make similar studies of Schubert, Schumann, Debussy and Franz Liszt, and as a result has given a number of one-composer recitals. His repertoire now is very flexible and he is happy about performing concertos by Mozart, L.v. Beethoven and Johannes Brahms in one week, while keeping a very wide variety of styles in his recital programmes. Katin is acclaimed for his technical command of the piano. He also directed concertos by W.A. Mozart and L.v. L.v. Beethoven from the keyboard.
Peter Katinís constant encouragement of the preserving of individuality in young artists has been one factor in the conferral during 1994 of an Honorary Doctorate by De Montfort University, and as a teacher, he has had highly successful years at the Royal Academy of Music (1956-1959), The University of Western Ontario (1968-1984), the Royal College of Music (since 1992) and Thames Valley University. He has also written many articles on piano technique and interpretation.
Peter Katin has now almost forty recordings, more than at any other time in his career, which have been received with critical superlatives. These include the complete Chopin Nocturnes and Impromptus, Grieg Lyric Pieces, Chopin Waltzes and Polonaises and the S. Rachmaninov Preludes. A live performance of a recital including the F. Liszt Sonata was released to a rave review in Classic CD. His interest in period pianos has resulted in three such recordings, as well as an all-Chopin programme on his own Collard & Collard 1836, and another on a Broadwood grand that was used by Chopin on the occasion of his last visit to London.
Peter Katin gave an anniversary recital at Wigmore Hall on December 13, 1998, exactly fifty years from the date of his début, celebrated his 70th birthday in November 2000, and his 75th birthday in 2005. His acclaimed recording of the complete Mozart sonatas were reissued by Altara Music in July 2008, and a new CD of four Haydn sonatas await release; a Chopin recital (originally for Olympia) from Somm Recordings has been very favourably received. Peter Katin has supported several charities in the past, and he has given no less than fourteen recitals which have raised vital funds for the Chernobyl Children's Project (UK).