Thu, Oct 13, 2011 - Page 15 News List

US ‘pianist to presidents’ Roger Williams dies
美國「總統的鋼琴家」病逝

Screenshots taken at the Official Roger Williams Web site (www.mrpianotoday.com) on Tuesday.
週二從羅傑‧威廉斯官方網站www.mrpianotoday.com擷取的照片。

Photos: Taipei Times
照片:台北時報

American pianist Roger Williams, who had a huge hit with the tune “Autumn Leaves” in the 1950s and played for a succession of US presidents, died aged 87 last Saturday, his family said.

His 1958 version of “Autumn Leaves” was the only instrumental ever to reach number one on the Billboard pop charts. He also had a hit with “Born Free,” the soundtrack of the movie of that name.

Born Louis Wertz in Omaha, Nebraska, he started playing piano at the age of three, studied jazz at the famous Juilliard School of Music in New York, and served in the US Navy during World War II.

His big break came with his second album, which contained his version of “Autumn Leaves” and sold two million copies. It remains the best selling piano record of all time.

He had met a sports announcer named Ronald Reagan when playing a show in Des Moines, Iowa, and the two developed a friendship which lasted six decades, including when his friend made it to the White House.

The late US president’s widow Nancy was among the first to pay tribute to Williams, who died at his home in Encino, California of complications from pancreatic cancer.

“Roger Williams was called the ‘pianist to the presidents’ for having performed for nine administrations, and Ronnie and I were especially pleased to welcome him to the White House,” she said.

“Roger was a great pianist, a great American, and a great friend. I am saddened by his death, and my sympathy and prayers go out to his family,” she added.

(AFP)

美國鋼琴家羅傑‧威廉斯的家人表示,一九五○年代寫下膾炙人口樂曲「秋葉」並且在多任總統面前演奏的威廉斯,上週六過世,享年八十七歲。

他一九五八年改編「秋葉」的版本,是唯一登上「告示牌」流行音樂排行榜冠軍的器樂曲。另外,他改編電影「獅子與我」的同名主題曲,也廣受喜愛。

羅傑斯本名路易斯‧魏茲,出生於內布拉斯加州的奧馬哈,三歲開始彈琴,並在紐約音樂名校茱莉亞音樂學院學習爵士樂,並在第二次世界大戰時服役於美國海軍。

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. pay tribute

v. phr.

悼念 (dao4 nian4)

例: Many people are paying tribute to Steve Jobs since he died.

(自從史蒂夫‧賈伯斯過世後,許多人都在悼念他。)

2. administration

n.

執政 (zhi2 zheng4)

例: How many administrations did you serve under while you were in the Senate?

(當你擔任參議員時,你歷經多少屆執政?)

3. sympathy

n.

慰問 (wei4 wen4)

例: We sent our sympathies to her family on the death of her father.

(對於她父親的逝世,我們對她的家人獻上我們的慰問。)


他的第二張專輯,包含他改編的「秋葉」,大賣兩百萬張,可謂他音樂事業的一大突破。該專輯不分時空,繼續保持最暢銷鋼琴錄音的地位。

後來他在愛荷華州第蒙的一場演出,認識當時還是一位體育播報員的美國總統羅納德‧雷根。他們兩位發展一段長達六十年的友誼,期間還歷經他的朋友入主白宮。

這位已故總統的夫人南西,在第一時間悼念威廉斯。威廉斯在加州恩西諾的家中,因胰臟癌引起的併發症辭世。

她表示:「羅傑‧威廉斯因曾為九任執政總統彈奏,因而有『總統的鋼琴家』之稱,並且特別是羅尼與我都很高興能邀請他到白宮來。」

她補充說:「羅傑是一位琴藝精湛的鋼琴家、一位偉大的美國人,以及很棒的朋友。我對他的過世感到難過,我向他的家人獻上我的慰問與禱告。」

(法新社/翻譯:林亞蒂)

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