Annie Fischer is one of the legendary, outstandingly great figures in the history of music performance in Hungary. She was born in Budapest in 1914. She began her career as a child prodigy, taking her place on the concert platform at the age of eight to play Beethoven's C major piano concerto. At twelve she gave her first concert abroad: she made her debut in Zürich with the Mozart A major and Schumann A minor piano concertos.
From the age of twelve, at the Budapest Academy of Music she studied with Arnold Székely and Ernő Dohnányi. Thus Annie Fischer was a pupil and inheritor of the great Hungarian school of piano playing that can be traced back to Liszt. Both Dohnányi and Arnold Székely were pupils of István Thomán, one of Liszt's best pupils. In fact this tradition reaches back to Beethoven, since Liszt was taught by Carl Cerny, Beethoven's favourite pupil.
Annie Fischer's international career began with her winning the grand prix in the first Budapest Liszt piano competition in 1933. In the years that followed, she performed in Europe's greatest cities and most famous concert halls. As a soloist she partnered conductors such as Fritz Busch, Bruno Walter, Knappertsbusch, Mengelberg, Ansermet, Karajan, Böhm, Matačic, Weingartner, Maazel, Barbirolli, Riccardo Muti, Adrian Boult, Sawallisch, Klemperer, and among the Hungarians Dohnányi, Fricsay, Ormándy, Solti, Széll and Ferencsik.
In 1937 Annie Fischer married the eminent music critic and expert on aesthetics, Aladár Tóth. In 1941 the couple moved to Sweden, returning to Hungary only after the war, in 1946. The two or three years following the war were a difficult and complex time in Hungary's history, a period of upturn during which cultural life began to flourish. Aladár Tóth accepted one of the key positions in Hungarian artistic life, becoming director of the Opera House. It was at this time that Otto Klemperer came to Budapest, and during his three-year stay he had a fertilizing influence on musical life as it struggled with the difficulties of starting anew.
On her return Annie Fischer was given a rapturous welcome by both audiences and critics. In the fifties critics both in Hungary and abroad expressed their admiration in superlatives. It was then that the main content of her repertoire became established: the greatest works of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin and Liszt formed the core of her programs. As time went by, from the sixties Annie Fischer's disposition as a pianist gradually changed: the virtuoso of the concert platform grew into an increasingly profound musician, freer from artifice, attending only to the truth of the music.
In her old age reviewers began to mention her together with the century's greatest. Even in her retirement she closely followed musical events, and when her strength permitted it, even in the last year of her life she delighted audiences in Hungary, Italy and Japan with a few concerts. In 1984 she was awarded with Béla Bartók-Ditta Pásztory Prize. She died in the spring of 1995, in the city of her birth, Budapest.