Mr. Hautzig (pronounced HOWT-zig) won the 1943 Town Hall Endowment Series Award for best young artist that year.
He later became a cultural ambassador for the United States, performing around the world for three decades. In the 1950s he performed frequently in Japan under State Department sponsorship. In 1979, after relations thawed, he was the first American artist officially delegated to perform in mainland China.
“Beethoven and Chopin are as good for the Asians as for the Europeans as for the Jews as for the gentiles,” he told The Forward in 2007. He refused, however, to perform before a racially segregated audience in Alabama in the 1940s.
“He told the concert manager, ‘You’re as bad as the Nazis!’” Ms. Hautzig, his daughter, recalled in her eulogy at his funeral on Thursday. “They said, ‘Go back where you came from.’”
While music affected Mr. Hautzig profoundly, the instrument that spared him from Nazi persecution and led to his marriage entered his personal life serendipitously.
“His father had had a big success in his business and told my grandmother she had two choices: She could have a fur coat, or she could have a piano,” Ms. Hautzig said in her eulogy. “She chose the piano.” Her father began playing it when he was 4.
Walter Hautzig was born on Sept. 28, 1921, in Vienna to the former Rosa Zwim and David Hautzig, a bookbinder.
He studied at the Vienna Academy of Music until the German annexation of Austria capped a period of growing anti-Semitism there, during which he was arrested at least once and also forced to scrub streets on his knees.
“They made the world believe that they were Hitler’s first victims, but Hitler’s army was received with kisses,” he said of Austrians.
When the music academy was shuttered and seized by German soldiers, he practiced the piano on his own at home.
“I said to myself, ‘This they can never take away from me,’” he recalled in a documentary filmed by his granddaughter Molly DeVries.
Responding to an advertisement in a Jewish newspaper, he arrived at a Vienna hotel at 8 a.m. to audition for Emil Hauser, director of the Jerusalem Conservatory and a founder of the Budapest String Quartet. Mr. Hauser was not just offering fellowships; he was also offering exit visas.
Mr. Hauser finally surfaced at 2 p.m. and apologized, saying he had had to rush to another appointment. Audaciously, Mr. Hautzig joined him in a taxi, and when they arrived at a private apartment that happened to have a piano, Mr. Hauser pointed to it and said, “Spiel!” (“Play!”) Mr. Hautzig performed Beethoven’s “Waldstein” Sonata.
“When I finished playing,” Mr. Hautzig said, “he exclaimed, ‘No matter what it takes, I will make sure that you come to Jerusalem.’”
A month later he arrived in what was then Palestine, where he studied under Josef Tal and Alfred Schroeder and performed as a soloist with the Jerusalem Academy Orchestra.
After a year and a half, he joined his parents and sister, who had fled through Switzerland, in New York. He studied privately with Artur Schnabel and enrolled in the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He was later a professor of piano at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, from 1960 to 1988. He continued to perform until a few years ago.
Returning from Scandinavia, where he performed to raise money for war victims of the Nazis, he met Esther Rudomin. She was on her way to New York from Siberia, where her family had been exiled. She was 16 and seasick.
“I played for her the G minor Ballade of Chopin,” Mr. Hautzig said, “and she said, ‘Anybody who plays like that has to be good.’” They married in 1950.
Esther Hautzig, who became an author of children’s books, died in 2009. In addition to his daughter, Mr. Hautzig is survived by a son, David, and three grandchildren.
The Hautzigs lived in an Upper West Side apartment building, and Mrs. Hautzig once cited the unique challenges that urban acoustics posed for a professional musician.
“A neighbor called and said, ‘Mrs. Hautzig, your husband’s practicing is driving me crazy,’” she recalled. “I gulped and apologized. The neighbor interrupted my apologies: ‘No, what’s he practicing? I know the piece and can’t remember what it is!’”
Correction: February 7, 2017
A caption on Sunday with an obituary about the concert pianist Walter Hautzig omitted credit for the photograph. The 1978 picture of Mr. Hautzig was taken by Peter Schaaf.
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