“For someone so young, it was a big deal,” he said by phone, adding that he took easily to being on the radio. “The thing he let me do, which I flipped for, is he used to let me read some of the ads on the show. Each time I’d come on, he let me say, ‘And now, Emanuel Ax is going to read the following ad.’”
Mr. Ax was among the performers at a concert celebrating Mr. Sherman’s 90th birthday last year, which Mr. Sherman himself hosted, as were the violinists Chee-Yun Kim, Joshua Bell and Ani Kavafian and the Emerson String Quartet. Ms. Kim, who also spoke, discussed her first appearance on “Young Artists Showcase,” when she was a teenager.
“I never spoke on a radio station ever, not even in Korea,” she said. “And I said to you, ‘I am so nervous, but it’s a live show — what if I make a mistake?’ And you told me, do you remember what you told me, you said: ‘Just talk to the microphone as you’re talking to me and people happen to listen in. That’s it. It’s just us two.’ And I was like, OK.”
Robert Sherman was born on July 23, 1932, in Manhattan. His parents were immigrants: His father, Isaac, who ran an import-export business and other companies, was from Ukraine. His mother, Ms. Reisenberg, was Lithuanian.
She taught Robert to play piano — with limited success.
“I had a certain talent for it and lacked the discipline to do anything,” Mr. Sherman said in an interview in 2019 for the Avery Fisher Artist Program oral history project. “Mother always told me, ‘For heaven’s sake, don’t tell anybody you study with me, because you’re not typical of my class.’”
He joked that he chose to attend the academically rigorous Stuyvesant High School, where he figured he would be the best pianist, rather than a performing arts school, where he assumed he would be the worst.