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Bernardo Segall; Concert Pianist

December 01, 1993

Bernardo Segall, who mastered the piano as a child in his native Brazil and embarked on a career lasting more than half a century as a teacher, composer and concert pianist, has died at a Century City hospital. He was 82.

Segall, a longtime Sherman Oaks resident, died Friday of heart failure, said his wife, Beverly Cavan Segall.

Born in Campinas, Brazil, Segall made his professional debut at age 9 in a program that included two of his own compositions. At 14, he won the Chiaffarelli Piano Contest and received an honorary bachelor's degree from Sao Paolo Conservatory.

Two years later, he traveled to the United States, where he studied with Alexander Siloti and, at 21, made his American debut at New York's Town Hall.

During his career, Segall performed extensively in Europe and the Americas, and appeared as a soloist with such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, the NBC Symphony, the Pittsburgh Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Sao Paolo Philharmonic under such conductors as Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein and Otto Klemperer.

Segall also maintained an additional career as a composer for theater, ballet, film and television, writing scores for such films as "The Luck of Ginger Coffey" and "Loving," the NASA documentary "To Fly!" and for Broadway productions of Tennessee Williams' "Camino Real" and William Saroyan's "The Cave Dwellers."

"I used to be content with concert tours and, in between, some theatrical composing," he told The Times in 1968. "Now I want to write symphonies and string quartets. . . . Writing for films and the stage has been a splendid education for me. I want it to be a beginning, not an end."

During the 1970s, Segall served on the faculty of the music department at USC, where he taught piano to advanced students and other instructors for much of the decade. He was described by one former pupil as "a marvelous composer . . . (and) excellent pianist."

In addition to his wife of 17 years, Segall is survived by a son, Christopher Cooper of Malibu, and one granddaughter.

There were no local services. Segall will be buried in a private ceremony at a Virginia cemetery.

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