One of the world's greatest pianists and my teacher passed away early this morning. I won't recount his biography here - you can read that on his website or see the NY Times obituary. Mr. Wild had a huge influence on my playing, and for everything he gave me as a pianist I will forever be grateful. He was one of the most generous (lessons never lasted less than 3 hours), funniest (he often had me laughing so hard during lessons I couldn't play) and kindest people I've ever met. About halfway through the lesson, we'd stop for a break and have coffee or a snack and gossip. He LOVED to gossip! The piano was his life, and he listened carefully to other professionals' recordings and recitals and had an opinion about every one of them. Even as he got older, his work ethic never lagged, and I remember arriving for a lesson once (he was at this point 89 or 90) and he told me he was a little tired because he had practiced for 6 hours the previous day!
What I liked most about him as a teacher was his honesty. If he didn't like something you were doing, he would tell you very frankly. But if he liked something, he'd tell you too - and I always enjoyed seeing a smile come across his face when what I was doing satisfied him.
I could write so much more - and maybe sometime I will. He's been a towering presence in the piano world for so many years - and we're all going to miss him.