The Ludwig van Beethoven Tradition
Piano Traditions Through Their Genealogy Trees
© 2021, by Daniel Pereira
Doctor of Musical Arts | www.daniel-pereira.com
Albrechtsberger, Johann George
Austrian (Klosterneuburg, February 3, 1736 — Vienna, March 7, 1809)
J.G. Albrechtsberger was a composer, teacher, theorist and a prestigious organist. He was appointed Kapellmeister in 1793, the highest ranked position for a musician in the empire. Albrechtsberger was a friend of W.A. Mozart. Haydn sent Beethoven to study with him between 1794 and 1795. He wrote internationally recognized treatises on composition and figured bass. Among his works, there are 278 keyboard compositions.
Bach, Johann Sebastian
German (Eisenach, March 21, 1685 — Leipzig, July 28, 1750)
J.S. Bach was one of the greatest geniuses and most influential composers in history. His impact has lasted into contemporary times. Bach lost both his parents at an early age and was taken care by his elder brother Johann Christoph, a student of Johann Pachelbel, who would give Johann Sebastian his first keyboard lessons. Although he did not compose any work specifically for the piano, Bach was involved in the development of pianos built by Gottfried Silbermann in the 1730s, and made suggestions in altering their mechanical structure, as well as playing a role in the promotion of their sales. There is an account of Bach improvising on a piano at the court of Frederick the Great in 1747. The Well-tempered clavier, Inventions, Sinfonias, Partitas, Suites, or the Goldberg Variations, are just a few of the keyboard masterpieces Bach left us, and they are played on the piano by students and professionals alike around the world.
Beethoven, Johann van
German (Bonn, November 14, 1740 — Bonn, December 18, 1792)
Johann van Beethoven was a musician and teacher of Flemish ancestry. He was the father of Ludwig van Beethoven. Johann played the zither and the violin and taught the harpsichord and the clavichord. He worked as a musician at the court of the Archbishop of Cologne. He married Maria Magdalena Keverich in 1767 and they had seven children, of which only three survived into adulthood. Johann van Beethoven was an alcoholic and an abusive father, and he was Ludwig´s first teacher.
Beethoven, Ludwig van
German (Bonn, baptized December 17, 1770 — Vienna, March 26, 1827)
One of the most influential, admired and popular figures in music history, Beethoven was a great pianist and improviser, and a visionary composer who transcended the limits of the piano, particularly after the illness, which isolated him —deafness— worsened. He described the state of his despairing soul in the famous Heiligenstadt Testament of 1802, addressed to his brothers Johann and Carl. He had Belgian ancestry and came from three generations of musicians who worked for the Electorate of Cologne. Beethoven settled in Vienna in 1792, where he received lessons from Haydn and likely from Mozart and became a highly respected composer in the Austrian capital. Beethoven´s piano output is crowned by the 32 piano sonatas, the 5 piano concertos, and the Diabelli variations, all of which are masterpieces of the piano literature.
[See the Ludwig van Beethoven Tradition]
Italo-English (Rome, January 23, 1752 — Evesham, Worcester, March 10, 1832)
Muzio Clementi was a harpsichord and keyboard player, composer, teacher and empresario. Popularly known as the “father of the pianoforte”, his influence on subsequent generations of pianists, piano composers, publishing and manufacturing firms is undisputed. Clementi counted among his students such distinguished pianists as Ludwig Berger, Carl Czerny, John Field and Frédéric Kalkbrenner. His pedagogical works Introduction to the Art of Playing the Pianoforte (1801) and Gradus ad Parnassum (1817, 1819, 1826) became of frequent use for pianists all over the world. In his teens, Clementi´s talent drew the attention of an Englishman named Peter Beckford, who in his own words “bought Clementi of his father for seven years”. Clementi spent all that time near Dorset, England, immersed in studying music and practicing the harpsichord. After this period, he moved to London where he became a celebrity as a composer, teacher, performer, manufacturer and publisher. He composed over 100 keyboard piano and numerous other pieces. Clementi signed a contract with Beethoven to publish a few of the German composer´s works. He is buried at the cloisters of Westminster Abbey in London.
[See the Muzio Clementi Tradition]
Austrian (Vienna, February 21, 1791 — Vienna, July 15, 1857)
Carl Czerny was a pianist, composer, teacher, theorist and historian. He is a fundamental figure in the history of the piano. Czerny´s most famous students were Franz Liszt, Theodor Leschetizky and Theodor Kullak. His early musical instruction was supervised by his father Wenzel Czerny, who was a pianist, organist, oboist and singer. At the age of ten, he began studies with Beethoven whose lessons, several times a week, employed C.P.E. Bach´s Essay. Czerny proofread many of Beethoven´s works and was admired for the interpretations of the master´s works, all of which he apparently could play from memory. He was not interested in becoming a touring virtuoso and focused on teaching and composing instead. He taught 12 hours a day, charged high fees and amassed a fortune by the end of his life. His numerous compositions include studies, exercises, sonatas, sonatinas and a Concerto for four hands. Of a great influence are his technical studies such as the opp. 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 636, and The Art of Finger Dexterity op. 740. Czerny was in close terms with Chopin and with his pupil Liszt, who invited him to collaborate in his Hexaméron variations. Czerny published an autobiography in 1842 titled Erinnerungen aus meinem Leben.
[See the Carl Czerny Tradition]
Czech (Nimburg, near Prague, 1750 — 1832)
Wenzel Czerny was a pianist, organist, oboist and singer. He was the father of Carl Czerny and was trained as a musician at a Benedictine monastery near Prague. After he married, he settled in Vienna in 1786.
German (Hanover, February 6, 1812 — Paris, February 15, 1875)
Berthold Damcke was a German composer. He played the viola, piano and organ. He also studied theology. He taught at the Paris Conservatoire and also in Brussels and Saint Petersburg.
Austrian (Vienna, June 20, 1833 — Vienna, November 7, 1919)
He had an important impact on the Russian school of pianism. He was a member of the Royal Academy in Stockholm and president of the Friends of Brahms Society in Vienna. He was the dedicatee of Tchaikovsky´s Valse-Caprice op. 4 and Saint-Saëns´ Piano Concerto no. 4.
[See the Anton Door Tradition]
Eeden, Van den
German (Probably Liège, ca. 1708 — Bonn, June 17, 1782)
Van den Eeden was a German composer and organist. He worked as a musician for more than half a century for the electorate of Cologne. His friendship with Beethoven´s family goes back to at least 1733. He taught the young Beethoven, probably piano, organ and thorough bass. Van den Eeden´s successor as court organist was C.G. Neefe, another of Beethoven´s teachers.
Gerke, Anton Avgustovich
Russian (Pulin, Zhitomir, now Ukraine, July 28, 1812 — Krelye, Novgorod, July 24, 1870)
Anton Gerke was a pianist, teacher and composer. He was the son of the Polish violinist Avgust Herke. Gerke was acquainted with Liszt, Thalberg and Clara Schumann. He settled in Saint Petersburg in 1831 and became court pianist. He helped to create the Russian Music Society and taught at the St. Petersburg Conservatory between 1862 and 1870.
Haydn, Franz Joseph
Austrian (Rohrau, Lower Austria, March 31, 1732 — Vienna, May 31, 1809)
Franz Joseph Haydn was a composer. He is regarded as the father of the symphony and of the string quartet. Haydn was a friend and mentor of Mozart and a tutor of Beethoven. His younger brother was the composer Michael Haydn. From 1761 to 1790, Haydn worked solely for the Prince of Esterházy at the prince´s palace in what is nowadays Hungarian territory. Haydn´s duties included not only composing, playing chamber music and conducting the orchestras but being responsible for paying the musicians, acquiring and maintaining the collection of instruments and for opera productions. Haydn travelled to London on two occasions between 1791 and 1795. Subsequently, he settled in Vienna for the rest of his life. At his funeral service, Mozart´s Requiem was performed. Haydn´s keyboard oeuvre includes concertos, numerous sonatas, variations, Fantasy in C major and Capriccio in G major. The most extensive catalogue of Haydn´s works was compiled by Anthony von Hoboken and was completed in 1978. The keyboard works appear under the Hob. XVI, XVII, XVIIa and XVIII entries. Another in-depth study was conducted by H.C. Robbins Landon.
Hiller, Johann Adam
German (Wendisch-Ossig, December 25, 1728 — Leipzig, June 16, 1804)
Hiller was a prominent figure in Leipzig´s music scene, organizing subscription concerts, founding a music school and directing the concerts for the Gewandhaus. He was known primarily as a composer and writer. His works are characterized by elements of the Empfindsamkeit style of the period.
Homilius, Gottfried August
German (Rosenthal, Saxony, February 2, 1714 — Dresden, June 2, 1785)
Homilius was a noteworthy composer in late 18th century Germany, particularly within the Protestant Church. He received lessons in composition and organ from Johann Sebastian Bach, and also studied law at the Leipzig University. He had an exceptional reputation as a teacher, cantor and organist who was known for his virtuosity and improvisational skills.
Austrian (Trieste, March 5, 1832 — Paris, February 27, 1882)
Alfred Jaëll was firstly taught the violin and piano by his father Eduard Jaëll. He was a piano virtuoso and a friend of Franz Liszt. Jaëll was court pianist at Hanover and was a pianist admired by his interpretations of Chopin. He composed a handful of virtuoso works and paraphrases. He married the pianist Marie Trautmann in 1866.
Austrian (Vienna — Probably died in September 1849)
Eduard Jaëll was the father of pianist Alfred Jaëll and his first teacher of piano and violin. He lived in Vienna between 1818 and 1830, where he was an active and well-known musician. Eduard Jaëll was among the first performers of Schubert´s music, and he participated in a concert in 1818 which featured Schubert´s Overture D 590 or 591, which was the first time his music was heard in public. In 1830, Jaëll moved to Trieste and founded there the municipal school of music.
German (Krotoschin, now Krotoszyn, Poland, September 12, 1818 — Berlin, March 1, 1882)
One of the most eminent piano teachers in the 19th century, he was pianist to the Prussian court and teacher of the royalty and aristocracy in Berlin. In that city, he co-founded and directed the Stern Conservatory, succeeded by Bülow, and later the Neue Akademie der Tonkunst, focused on piano teaching, which became the largest private school in Germany counting over 100 teachers and 1100 students. Kullak composed a substantial amount of piano works such as the Symphonie de piano op. 27, Ballade op. 54, Scherzo op. 125 and, particularly influential, the School of Octaves studies.
[See the Theodor Kullak Tradition]
Lang, Benjamin Johnson
American (Salem, United States, December 28, 1837 — Boston, April 4, 1909)
A multifaceted musician, he was recognized as a chamber music performer and accompanist as well as a marvelous improviser on the organ. He appeared frequently with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, and conducted the premiere of Tchaikovsky´s First Piano Concerto with the Boston Symphony in 1875, with Hans von Bülow at the piano. He was a pioneer with the edition and printing of program notes, including the type of paper used and the text layout in order to avoid unnecessary page turning in quiet places of the music.
Moravian (Brno, January 13, 1764 — Berlin, April 18, 1825)
Franz Lauska was a piano teacher and composer. He likely studied in Vienna with Albrechtsberger. Lauska lived in Italy, Munich and Berlin, where he taught Meyerbeer and the Prussian royal family. He probably met Beethoven, for whom he proofread several compositions, and was a friend of Carl Maria von Weber. Among his piano compositions, Lauska wrote 25 sonatas, rondos, variations, capriccios and polonaises, as well as a concerto for either piano or harpsichord.
Polish (Łańcut, Galicia, June 22, 1830 — Dresden, November 14, 1915)
Theodor Leschetizky was a pianist, teacher and composer. His father gave him his first music lessons. His debut, performing a Czerny concertino, was conducted by W.A. Mozart´s son, Franz Xaver. In Vienna, Leschetizky studied with Carl Czerny. In 1852, he moved to Saint Petersburg, where he taught and headed the piano department at the Conservatory from 1862 and stayed in the city for the next 26 years. His second wife was his student Anna Essipova, whom he divorced in 1892. Subsequently, he married two other students consecutively. Another student of his, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, contributed to expanding Leschetizky´s fame as a teacher, particularly in the United States. An estimate of 1,200 pianists studied with him, exerting a deep influence on pianism around the world, with students who were still performing as late as 1991. He was a crucial figure in the revival of Schubert´s piano sonatas, especially through his student Arthur Schnabel. Leschetizky composed a one-movement Piano Concerto and virtuoso piano music.
[See the Theodor Leschetizky Tradition]
Liebmann [née Riese], Helene
German (Berlin, 1796 — died after 1835)
Helene Liebmann was a composer and a child prodigy pianist. She published some compositions while in her teens. Liebmann studied with Franz Lauska and Ferdinand Ries. Among other works, she wrote 4 piano sonatas, Fantasie op. 16, 6 Ländler and Cendrillon Variations.
Hungarian (Raiding, (in Hungarian: Doborján), October 22, 1811 — Bayreuth, July 31, 1886)
Pianist, conductor, teacher and composer, he is indisputably one of the greatest piano virtuosi of all time and a pioneer in different areas: he is the father of modern piano technique, inventor of the piano recital, the masterclass and of novel concepts in orchestral conducting. He performed complete concerts by memory, performed works from the entire history of the keyboard literature and always opened the lid of the piano towards the audience. His compositions envisioned new harmonic paths which greatly influenced Debussy, Ravel or Scriabin. Born in the Burgenland, a region which nowadays belongs to Austria, located at about 100 kms from Vienna, Liszt´s native tongue was German and he never became fluent or comfortable in Hungarian. His father, Adam, an amateur musician who worked for a long time at the Esterházy estates and met Joseph Haydn, gave him his first music lessons. During his travels, Liszt met Beethoven, Brahms, Anton Rubinstein, Chopin, Schumann, Berlioz, Alkan, Hiller, Grieg and many other contemporary figures. A student of Czerny, Salieri, Reicha and Ferdinando Paer, he went on extended concert tours in Europe, England, Scotland, Russia, Turkey, Spain and Portugal, playing numerous and populated recitals such as the one offered at La Scala in Milan for 3000 people. At the age of 35, he decided to abandon the stage and devote his time to mostly compose, teach and doing a great deal of travelling, especially to Weimar, Rome and Budapest. Always interested in the live of the saints, religion and spiritual life, he received the four minor Catholic orders in July 1865. He lived at the Vatican for a time and became friends with Pope Pius IX. His compositional output for piano is enormous. His large-scale works include the Sonata in B minor, the Dante Sonata and the piano concertos. He went beyond the Romantic concept of the étude with the 12 Transcendental Études, 6 Paganini Études or the several Études de Concert, and wrote numerous Hungarian Rhapsodies. He produced numerous sets of pieces including the Années de Pèlerinage, Harmonies Poétiques et Religieuses, as well as the Ballades and the Mephisto Waltzes. Liszt also made numerous transcriptions of Bach´s works, Schubert lieder and Beethoven symphonies and paraphrases on operatic themes such as Rigoletto, Don Juan and Norma. In the late pieces, he explored new harmonic devices, the exploitation of the limits of tonality and atmospheric effects in Nuages Gris, La Lugubre Gondola, Unstern! and Bagatelle sans tonalité. He produced editions of the Beethoven complete sonatas, Field´s nocturnes, Chopin´s complete works, and of pieces by Schubert and Weber. The most authoritative catalogue of Liszt´s works was compiled by British composer Humphrey Searle, hence the use of the letter “S” following the titles of Liszt´s works. Liszt had three children, two of them died during his lifetime and his daughter Cosima was married to Bülow before she left him for Richard Wagner. By the end of his life, Liszt suffered from dropsy, fevers and cataracts. He likely died of heart infraction at the age of 74.
[See the Franz Liszt Tradition]
Bohemian (Prague, May 23, 1794 — Leipzig, March 10, 1870)
Of Jewish descent, besides the piano he studied counterpoint with Albrechtsberger and composition with Salieri in Vienna, where he met Beethoven. The publisher Artaria commissioned him to write a piano reduction of Beethoven´s opera Fidelio. Clementi and Cramer regarded him as an equal and friend, as well as Mendelssohn, whom he taught piano. He also met Chopin and played with him his Grande sonata op. 47. He taught at the Royal Academy of Music and was conductor of the Philharmonic Society, conducting the first performance of Beethoven´s Missa Solemnis in London in 1832. He also taught at the Leipzig Conservatory. He translated and edited Schindler´s biography of Beethoven and published it as The Life of Beethoven. Moscheles established the “historical soirées” in London which championed early music played on the harpsichord. Moscheles commissioned Chopin´s Trois nouvelles études for his piano method. He composed numerous piano works including the Sonate mélancolique op. 49, La marche d´Alexandre op. 32, Präeludien op. 73, sonatas, fantasias, rondos, variations, etudes opp. 70 and 95, piano concertos, and the Hommage á Händel op. 92 for two pianos.
[See the Ignaz Moscheles Tradition]
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Austrian (Salzburg, January 27, 1756 — Vienna, December 5, 1791)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a composer, keyboard and violin player. He is regarded among the major exponents of the Viennese Classicism and one of the most astonishing music geniuses in history. He was baptized as Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus. He was the son of Leopold Mozart who took responsibility for the education of his son not only in music but in mathematics, reading, writing, literature, languages, dancing and moral and religious ideas. Wolfgang Amadeus composed his first works at the age of five. Mozart and his family travelled extensively all over Europe between 1762 and 1773. Subsequently, he lived in Salzburg and finally settled in Vienna. W.A. Mozart married Constanze Weber, a cousin of composer Carl Maria von Weber. Mozart excelled in all music genres. His piano output is large including 27 piano concertos for one, two and three pianos, 18 piano sonatas, fantasies, rondos, and variations such as Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman and other sets on themes by Fischer, Salieri, Grétry, Paisiello, Gluck and Sarti. He also produced a sonata for two pianos and works for piano duet. The first edition of the Köchel catalogue of Mozart´s works was completed in 1863 by Ludwig von Köchel.
[See the Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Tradition]
Russian (Karevo, Pskov district, March 21, 1839 — Saint Petersburg, March 28, 1881)
Modest Mussorgsky was a composer. He was born into a wealthy family who owned a property in the countryside, south of Saint Petersburg. Mussorgsky could improvise at the piano before he had any formal music lessons. He studied composition with Balakirev and became part of his circle known as the Mighty Handful, alongside with Borodin, Cui and Rimsky-Korsakov. In January 1869, Mussorgsky was appointed assistant chief of the Forestry Department of the Ministry of State Property, a position that consumed a substantial amount of his time and kept him away from composing. He maintained this job until 1878. Mussorgsky produced a handful of piano compositions such as two scherzos, Impromptu passionné, Intermezzo in modo classico, From Memories of Childhood and Au village, among others. His most outstanding and original composition was Pictures at an Exhibition, which was orchestrated by Ravel and Ashkenazy, among many others. Mussorgsky suffered from alcoholism during several periods of his life. His last years were spent in loneliness and poverty, leaving some of his potentially most noteworthy compositions unfinished.
Neefe, Christian Gottlob
German (Chemnitz, February 5, 1748 — Dessau, January 26, 1798)
Neefe was largely known for instructing the young Beethoven in piano, organ, thoroughbass and composition, as well as introducing to him J.S. Bach´s Well-tempered clavier and C.P.E. Bach´s Geller-Lieder. He composed a handful of piano sonatas and other smaller works.
American (Edgeworth, November 25, 1862 — New Haven, February 17, 1901)
Ethelbert Nevin was a pianist and composer. He studied with Franz Böhme in Dresden, with Benjamin J. Lang in Boston, with Karl Klindworth in Berlin and with Hans von Bülow. Nevin lived for a time in Italy, in an attempt to recover from a nervous breakdown. He composed over 55 piano pieces, mostly miniatures.
Pfeiffer, Tobias Friedrich
German (Weimar, 1751? — Düsseldorf, 1805?)
Tobias Pfeiffer was a pianist, composer and tenor. He worked as a performer in Bonn, where he met Johann van Beethoven, Ludwig´s father, and lived with the family for a period of time during which he gave the young Ludwig van Beethoven piano lessons. He settled in Düsseldorf around 1794 and received regular payments from Beethoven. Pfeiffer likely wrote a set of piano variations.
German (Bonn, baptized November 28, 1784 — Frankfurt, January 13, 1838)
Ferdinand Ries was a pianist, composer and copyist. He received instruction in piano and violin from his father, Franz Ries, who had taught Beethoven the violin. He also took cello lessons with Bernhard Romberg. In 1801, Ries moved to Vienna and studied piano with Beethoven for three years, for whom he also carried out duties as secretary and copyist. He avoided enlisting in the French army because he had lost an eye during his childhood. He toured and became a renowned pianist, and performed in Kassel, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Stockholm and, extensively, in Russia. He lived in London for 11 years before retiring in Germany. Among his piano output, Ries wrote 14 sonatas, 39 rondos, rondolettos, 49 sets of variations, 15 fantasias and 22 waltzes.
Rimskaya-Korsakova [née Purgol´d], Nadezhda
Russian (Saint Petersburg, October 31, 1848 — Petrograd, May 24, 1919)
Nadezhda Rimskaya-Korsakova was a pianist, composer and writer. She married composer Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov. She was part of Balakirev´s circle. Dargomïzhsky taught her orchestral reduction. She spent the last few years of her life publishing her husband´s posthumous literary and musical works. She composed some works including piano music.
German (Hamburg, 1799 — New York, June 8, 1839)
Daniel Schlesinger was a pianist and composer, renowned for his improvising skills. He moved to New York where he became the leader of the Concordia society and was an active musician.
Tchaikovsky, Piotr Ilych
Russian (Kamsko-Votkinsk, Vyatka province, May 7, 1840 — Saint Petersburg, Nov 6, 1893)
Piotr Ilych Tchaikovsky was a composer, conductor and teacher. He was the son of a mining engineer. By the age of six, he was able to read in French and German. From 1852 to 1859, Tchaikovsky studied at the School of Jurisprudence. Upon graduation, he worked for the Ministry of Justice. From 1862 to 1865, he attended the newly established Saint Petersburg Conservatory, studying with Anton Rubinstein. Tchaikovsky taught at the Moscow Conservatory between 1866 and 1878. In July 1877, Tchaikovsky married Antonina Ivanovna Milyukova. They separated two months after, but never divorced. During the next six years, he travelled extensively and spent long periods of time abroad. In 1888, Alexander III awarded Tchaikovsky a lifetime pension. He conducted the first performance of the Sixth Symphony on October 28, 1893, and died a few days after, on November 6. Besides much speculation, the cause of his death has never been clarified. Tchaikovsky composed three piano concertos, a Concert Fantasia for piano and orchestra, and a number of solo piano works including two sonatas, Scherzo á la russe, three Chant sans paroles, Vals caprice, Les saisons, Dumka, Album for the young, Douze morceaux, and numerous other pieces such as nocturnes, impromptus, collections of morceaux, waltzes, caprices and mazurkas. Tchaikovsky´s brother Modest wrote The Life of Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, a crucial biography of the composer´s life.
German or Austrian (Pâquis, near Geneva, January 8, 1812 — Posillipo, near Naples, April 27, 1871)
Sigismond Thalberg was a pianist and composer. He was, next to Franz Liszt, the greatest virtuoso of the mid-nineteenth century in Europe. He played almost exclusively his own compositions, which were mainly fantasias based on opera themes by Rossini, Meyerbeer, Donizetti and Verdi. Although he initially went to Vienna to study for diplomatic service, he became a touring and successful pianist, travelling all over Europe, Brazil, Havana and the United States, where he lived and taught for a few years. His “three-hand effect” technique became very popular. His didactic work L´art du chant appliqué au piano reveals Thalberg´s ability to combine the brilliance of the execution with his preoccupation with imbuing the bel canto into his playing. He married the daughter of Luigi Lablache, an opera singer. He spent the last few years of his life in a villa in Italy as a viticulturist.
[See the Sigismond Thalberg Tradition]
van den Bergh, Gertrude
Dutch (Baptized in Cologne, January 21, 1793 — The Hague, September 10, 1840)
Gertrude van den Bergh was a pianist and composer. She published a piano sonata at the age of nine. In The Hague, she became a renowned interpreter of the music of Beethoven and was also among the earliest performers of J.S. Bach´s music. She taught several members of the Dutch royal family. Van den Bergh produced such virtuoso piano works as the Rondeau pour le pianoforte op. 3.
Belarusian (Vitsebsk province, June 15, 1821 — Saint Petersburg, September 8, 1879)
Nikolay Zaremba was a teacher and composer. Ha taught at the Saint Petersburg School of the Russian Musical Society and at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, where he succeeded Anton Rubinstein as director in 1867. He worked towards improving the music curriculum and the level of teaching at the conservatory. Zaremba was a pioneer in the use of the Russian language instead of German in music theory classes. Tchaikovsky was among his students. Zaremba wrote some piano pieces.