His earliest public performances were from age 6 with his mother, and at 12 he entered the Curtis Institute. He studied under Rudolf Serkin and also Mieczyslaw Horzowski.
In 1943 he won the Leventritt award, and also the Philhadelphia Youth Award. He made his debuts with the Philadelphia Orchestra with Eugene Ormandy, playing a concerto by Chopin, and the New York Philharmonic conducted by Artur Rodzinski playing Brahms 2nd concerto in the same week in 1943.
He won a Grammy Award in 1970 with the trio, for their recordings of Beethoven.
He married Marta Montañez (Marta Casals Istomin), the widow of Pablo Casals, on February 15, 1975. She is the president of the Manhattan School of Music, and formerly she was an artistic director of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C He moved to Washington in 1980.
In the 1980s and 1990s he gave recital tours in which he toured 30 American cities with his own pianos and piano tuner.
Several composers, including Henri Dutilleux, Roger Sessions, and Ned Rorem wrote music for him.
He received the French Legion d'Honneur in 2001.
He died of liver cancer in 2003 at his home in Washington.