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Byron-JanisFor seven decades, legendary pianist Byron Janis has thrilled audiences around the world.

He’ll celebrate his eighty-fifth birthday year at UT from February 26 to March 2 by sharing his expertise with a younger generation of musicians and students.

Janis will host five days of master classes, discussions, presentations, and performances, all of which will take place at the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center, 1741 Volunteer Blvd.

The celebration also will include a presentation by Janis’s wife, Maria Cooper Janis, daughter of actor Gary Cooper.

All events are free and open to the public, but registration is recommended as soon as possible online.

“This celebration of Byron Janis’s 85th birthday year represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the genius of one of America’s greatest pianists,” said David Northington, UT professor of piano and coordinator of the Janis birthday celebration. He also is a former student of Janis. “The five-day celebration at the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center will afford attendees the opportunity to hear Mr. Janis perform, teach, and give lectures and discussions on his autobiographical book and videos that have been produced about his life.”

Janis was the first American pianist invited to perform in the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

“He has had an extraordinary career of performances with every major orchestra in the world and in every major concert hall internationally,” Northington said.

Janis debuted with the Pittsburgh Symphony at age sixteen and has toured extensively throughout the world performing solo recitals and concerts. He has been honored by several US presidents during his career. He has suffered from severe arthritis in his hands, wrists, and fingers, requiring multiple surgeries. He later became a spokesperson for the Arthritis Foundation as its National Ambassador to the Arts.

Go online for more information, the schedule of events, or to register.


Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,

David Northington (865-974-0624,