Born and raised in Brussels, studied at and ran away from the Conservatoire, where his teacher Arthur De Greef had himself been a pupil of Liszt. His prodigious technique was further developed by a spell in the USA in the early 1920s. Shortly after returning to Europe he formed a musical partnership with the French pianist and composer Jean Wiéner, performing on two pianos at the Boeuf sur le Toit in Paris, where they played jazz, blues and hot dance, and in concert halls where they performed an even broader range of two-piano music including classical. They performed and toured together intermittently until 1939 when war broke out in Europe.
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