Richard Aron Beirach was born on 23 May 1947 in Brooklyn, New York City. Having a sheltered childhood, he started playing the piano at the age of 5. From age 6 to age 18, Beirach was given lessons by the pianist und composer James Palmieri. “James Palmieri showed me everything that I know about music,...he made me understand the deeper meaning of music.”
Palmieri’s lessons were strictly classic and until age 13, Beirach exclusively dealt with classical music.When, at the age of 13, he stayed at a friend’s place, he heard Red Garland’s version of “Billy Boy“ from Miles Davis’ album “Milestones”: “I could hardly believe it. This was exactly what I was looking for, what I needed. Until then, I had only had a classical musical education: Mozart, Beethoven, no improvisation. I took the album to my teacher. He hated it, he hated it a lot…”Beirach realized that he wanted to devote himself to improvisation and Jazz. He tried and got in touch with Jazz musicians, while continuing to take lessons with Palmieri.
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