Starting piano at age nine, he studied under Pierre Maire, a student of Nadia Boulanger, and quickly demonstrated his brilliance by being able to play back long sections of classical music by ear. After winning the esteemed 1st Prize in Piano at the Paris Conservatory, Peiffer began his professional career at the age of twenty, playing with Andre Ekyan and Django Reinhardt. During World War II, Peiffer joined the French resistance after he witnessed the execution of a friend by the Gestapo in the streets of Paris. Soon afterward he was captured, and was incarcerated for over a year. In the early 1950s he began a successful career, playing with Django, leading his own quintet, composing film soundtracks, and essentially achieving celebrity status among the clubs of Paris, Monte Carlo and Nice, and eventually becoming nationally renowned. He released recordings on the EmArcy, Decca and Laurie Records labels. He moved to Philadelphia in 1954 with his wife Corine and daughter Rebecca. The subsequent loss of his third daughter (his first was from a previous marriage with singer Monique Dozo) profoundly affected him, resulting in the beautiful "Poem for a Lonely Child".
In 1962 came his first son and final child, Stephen. During his first several years in the US, he achieved considerable success, performing at Carnegie Hall, Birdland, and the Newport Jazz Festival. He released his final commercial album in 1965 and after having kidney surgery a few years later, he restricted himself to performing and teachin,g mainly in Philadelphia. His last major appearance was at the 1974 New York/Newport Festival at Carnegie Hall. He died on September 7, 1976, aged 53. A posthumous release, entitled Formidable...!, that spans twenty years of his career was released in 2006, produced by his student Don Glanden and son Stephen." Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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