Samuel Sanders (27 June 1937 – 9 July 1999) was a distinguished American classical pianist known for sensitive collaborations with noted soloists such as Itzhak Perlman, Mstislav Rostropovich, Robert White and many other instrumentalists and singers.

Some of the other artists with whom he collaborated are Hermann Baumann (horn), Jacqueline DuPre (cello), Joshua Bell (violin). Kyung Wha Chung (violin), Jaime Laredo (violin), Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Jessye Norman (soprano), Rachel Barton Pine (violin), Paula Robison (flute), Leonard Rose (cello), Eugenia Zukerman (flute), and Pinchas Zukerman (violin).

In 1996, Sanders and violinist Itzhak Perlman marked the thirtieth anniversary of a partnership which took them to many parts of the world and resulted in twelve recordings, two of which were awarded Grammys.

With Chilean cellist Andres Diaz (cello) Sanders formed Diaz-Sanders Duo.

Sanders was the founder and artistic director of the Cape and Islands Chamber Music Festival in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

He received honorary doctorates from Lehman College and the St. Louis Conservatory of Music (CASA), and taught for more than three decades at the Juilliard School, where he helped found a degree program for collaborative pianists.

Samuel Sanders died from liver failure at New York Presbyterian Hospital in 1999. He was 62 and lived in Manhattan.

Mr. Sanders was a gregarious musician who looked a bit like Woody Allen and had a quick and often ribald sense of humor that endeared him to the musicians he worked with, several of whom became lifelong friends. But he also regarded the business of accompanying as serious, exacting work, and he was one of the first pianists to insist that an accompanist should be regarded as a soloist’s partner rather than as a subsidiary.

When he joined the faculty of the Juilliard School, in 1963, he persuaded the school to establish a master’s degree program for accompanists, and he demanded that his name be listed in all advertisements for concerts in which he was to perform, a practice other accompanists quickly adopted. He also campaigned to open the field to women at a time when virtually all accompanists were men.

Mr. Sanders preferred the term collaborator to accompanist, but admitted that it was a clumsy and not entirely satisfactory alternative. Often, he likened his job to that of a catcher on a baseball team.

Mr. Sanders made his New York recital debut at Town Hall when he was 13, and he performed as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic when he was 16. But he was ambivalent about a pianistic career. ”I was talented, and I loved classical music,” he said, ”but I didn’t particularly love piano music. I didn’t even like going to piano recitals. My teachers would drag me along and say, ‘Did you see how wonderful those thirds were?’ And I could only think, ‘Let me out of here.’ ”

As a student at Hunter College, he took film courses and considered becoming a film composer. But he also began accompanying friends in recitals, among them Mr. White, who had been a child star and was a classmate at Hunter, and he quickly found collaborative performance more satisfying than solo playing. In 1959 he enrolled at the Juilliard School to study with Sergius Kagen, a pianist who had done considerable accompanying, mostly of singers. Mr. Sanders joined the school’s faculty after he completed his master’s degree.

Mr. Sanders won a special citation for his work with Stephen Kates, the cellist, at the 1966 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. By the late 1960’s he was performing regularly with Mr. Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman and Jaime Laredo, all violinists, as well as Mr. White, the tenor, and Paula Robison, the flutist, all young soloists in the early years of their careers.

Other musicians Mr. Sanders worked with frequently include the singers Beverly Sills, Jessye Norman and Hakan Hagegard, the cellists Leonard Rose, Yo-Yo Ma, Lynn Harrell, Jacqueline du Pre and Mr. Rostropovich. He maintained his interest in young musicians as well, performing in the 1990’s with the violinists Joshua Bell and Rachel Barton, and Andres Diaz, a cellist. He made dozens of recordings with these musicians. Two of them, both with Mr. Perlman, won Grammy Awards.

Mr. Sanders was an avid chamber player. In 1980, he established the Cape and Islands Chamber Music Festival, on Cape Cod. He performed frequently with string quartets, including the Juilliard, the St. Lawrence and Borromeo, and he formed several ensembles of his own, including Musica Camerit and Zephyr.