- Michel Petrucciani
- 91 centimetre(s)
- France ()
The shortest professional pianist was Michel Petrucciani (France, 1962-99), who stood 91-cm (2-ft 11.8-in) tall. Despite hundreds of bone fractures caused by osteogenesis imperfecta, Petrucciani became a much-sought-after performer and refused to let his condition limit his ambitions. He counted the prestigious French Prix Django Reinhardt among his awards.
Petrucciani, whose father was a jazz violinist, was inspired to play the piano at the age of four after seeing Duke Ellington perform on TV. He studied classical piano before concentrating on jazz repertoire, making his public debut as a pianist at the Cliousclat Festival at the age of 13; within two years, he was playing with the renowned US drummer and vibraphonist Kenny Clarke, and went on to gig with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Jim Hall, Wayne Shorter, Eddie Gomez and Steve Gadd. He eventually released a solo album in honour of his hero Ellington entitled Promenade With Duke. Despite his condition, and increasing immobility, Petrucciani worked tirelessly as an artist, performing 140 concerts in the year before his death. He ended his career confined to a wheelchair. He died at the age 36 from a pulmonary infection on 6 January 1999 in Manhattan, New York, USA.