The Frédéric Chopin Tradition

Piano Traditions Through Their Genealogy Trees

© 2021, by Daniel Pereira

Doctor of Musical Arts |


Bovy-Lysberg, Charles-Samuel

Swiss (Geneva, May 1, 1821 — Geneva, February 14, 1873)

Charles-Samuel Bovy-Lysberg was a pianist and composer. He studied with Chopin in Paris. He met Liszt, who helped him in the publishing of his Suissesses op. 1. He taught at the Geneva Conservatory. Most of his compositions are piano salon pieces.


Bruchollerie, Monique de la

French (Paris, April 20, 1915 — Bucarest, December 15, 1972)

Monique de la Bruchollerie was a pianist. She was awarded at the Third Frédéric Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1937 and at the Brussels Competition in 1939. She entered the Paris Conservatoire at age 7 in the class of Isidor Philipp, who was a friend of her parents. She graduated at 13 and won the Premier Prix in 1928. She also studied with Cortot, Sauer and Koczalski. She concertized extensively including the United States and appeared with the Boston Symphony under Ernest Ansermet and in other cities. In 1969, she was injured in a car accident that abruptly terminated her performing career. She made a number of recordings for His Master´s Voice and Vox Records including the piano concertos of Chopin, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Franck and Rachmaninov. Jean-Marc Savelli and Cyprien Katsaris are among her students.


Carreño, Teresa

Venezuelan (Caracas, Venezuela, December 22, 1853 — New York, June 12, 1917)

Teresa Carreño was a pianist, composer and singer. Both her grandfather and father were musicians, and she received her early musical training with the latter. In 1862, the family moved to New York City, where Carreño made her debut when she was eight years old. She also lived in Paris and Boston, and concertized with great acclaim in Europe, Australia, Africa, South America and in the United States. She championed the works of American composers, particularly the music of Edward MacDowell. Carreño also appeared on occasion as an opera singer. She composed about 80 works including the Marche triomphale op. 8, Ballade op. 15 and Vals Gayo op. 38. Carreño recorded a number of piano rolls for Welte-Mignon and Duo-Art in 1905 and 1914, respectively. She married four times: the violinist Emile Sauret, the baritone Giovanni Tagliapietra, and later his brother Arturo Tagliapietra, and the pianist Eugen d´Albert. Among the pallbearers at her funeral were Paderewski, Hutcheson and Elman.


Castro, Juan José

Argentine (Avellaneda, Buenos Aires, March 7, 1895 — Buenos Aires, September 5, 1968)

Juan José Castro was a composer and conductor. He studied piano and violin with Manuel Posadas. Thanks to the Europa Prize, he went to Paris to study piano with Risler at the Schola Cantorum. He was the conductor of orchestras such as the Havana Symphony, Melbourne Symphony or the Argentine National Symphony. He taught at the Puerto Rico Conservatory and at the National Music Academy in Argentina. He was one of the founders of the group Renovación in 1929. Castro composed sonatas and tangos for piano among other works. His brother was the composer, conductor and cellist José María Castro.


Chopin, Frédéric-François

Polish (Zelazowa Wola, March 1, 1810 — Paris, October 17, 1849)

Frédéric Chopin was a pianist and composer. His father was from Lorraine, France. He studied with Zywny, Elsner and with Wilhelm Würfel, an eminent pianist. However, in terms of piano training, Chopin was mainly self-taught. His earliest autograph is the Polonaise in A flat major, dated in 1821. On November 1, 1830, he departed for Vienna and would never return to his native Poland. After spending some time in Vienna, Munich and Stuttgart, he travelled to Paris. His Parisian debut took place in the Salle Pleyel on February 26, 1832. In the French capital, Chopin became a famous teacher, composer and pianist, although he did not frequently perform in public. He was in close terms with Hiller, Liszt, Berlioz, Delacroix and Franchomme. In 1838, Chopin and George Sand begun their love affair which was to last until 1847. Chopin spent periods of time in Majorca, Marseilles, Nohant, London and Scotland. His health had always been weak and, by October 1848 he weighed less than 45 kgs (99 lbs). Chopin is among the greatest composers for the piano and wrote numerous pieces including études, mazurkas, nocturnes, waltzes, polonaises, sonatas, impromptus, ballades and two concertos.

[See the Frédéric Chopin Tradition]


Ciuntu, Paul

Romanian (Rome, 1866 — Bucharest, December 29, 1918)

Paul Ciuntu was a pianist, composer, conductor and teacher. He studied with Jadassohn at the Leipzig Conservatory and, in Lwów, with Karol Mikuli. He conducted the Rostock Opera in Goslar.


Cortot, Alfred Denis

Swiss-French (Nyon, September 26, 1877 — Lausanne, June 15, 1962)

Alfred Cortot was a pianist, conductor and teacher. He studied with Chopin´s pupil Émile Decombes and with Louis Diémer. At the Paris Conservatoire, he won the Premier Prix in 1896. He conducted the Parisian premiere of Wagner´s Götterdämmerung in 1902 and the first French performances of Parsifal, in concert form, Beethoven´s Missa Solemnis and Brahms´s German Requiem. He formed a trio with Jacques Thibaud and Pablo Casals. Cortot made editions of the music of Chopin, Liszt and Schumann for Éditions Durand. Cortot taught at the Paris Conservatoire and founded the École Normale de Musique. In March 1925, Cortot made the world´s first commercial electrical recording of classical music for the Victor Talking Machine Company with Chopin´s Impromptus and Schubert´s Litanei. His first cousin was the composer Edgard Varése.


Czartoryska [née Radziwill], Princess Marcelina

Polish (Podluzne Polesie, May 18, 1817 — Kraków, June 5, 1894)

Princess Marcelina Czartoryska was a pianist. She studied with Czerny. She also was a pupil of Chopin and was one of the few friends present at his death. She performed with Vieuxtemps, Franchomme, Viardot and Liszt. She frequently performed and lectured on Chopin´s music.


Czerny, Carl

Austrian (Vienna, February 21, 1791 — Vienna, July 15, 1857)

Active as a teacher, composer, pianist, theorist and historian, he is a fundamental figure in the history of the piano. His 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, charging high fees and amassing a fortune by the end of his life. His numerous compositions include studies, exercises, sonatas, sonatinas and even a Concerto for four hands. Of a great influence are his technical studies such as the opp. 200, 300, 400, 500, 600 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. He published an autobiography in 1842 titled Erinnerungen aus meinem Leben.

[See the Carl Czerny Tradition]


Descombes, Émile

French (Nîmes, August 9, 1829 — Paris, May 5, 1912)

Émile Descombes was a pianist and teacher. He was one of the last pupils of Chopin in Paris. He taught preparatory piano at the Paris Conservatoire between 1875 and 1899 and had Cortot, Risler, Ravel and Satie among his pupils. Decombes edited a number of piano arrangements of piano concertos in École du piano – Choix de Concertos des Maîtres.


Elsner, Józef Antoni Franciszek

Polish (Grodków, June 1, 1769 — Warsaw, April 18, 1854)

Józef Elsner was a composer and teacher of German descent. In 1800, he settled in Warsaw where he became director of the Opera and founded a number of music schools. He taught at the Warsaw Conservatory and at the Main School of Music. Chopin was among his students. Elsner is regarded a forerunner of the Polish national style. His piano works include two Rondos à la Mazurek, Rondo à a la krakowiak, three sonatas, variations and polonaises.


Février, Jacques

French (Saint-Germain-en-Laye, July 26, 1900 — Epinal, September 2, 1979)

Jacques Février was a pianist and teacher. He studied with Edouard Risler and Marguerite Long at the Paris Conservatoire where he obtained the Premier Prix in 1921. He premiered Poulenc´s Concerto for two pianos with the composer and was the first French pianist to play Ravel´s Concerto for the left hand in France and the United States. Frévier´s recording of the complete piano works of Ravel was awarded with a Grand Prix du Disque in 1963.


Filtsch, Károly

Romanian (Szászsebes, Hungary, now Sebes, Romania, May 28, 1830 — Venice, May 11, 1845)

Károly Filtsch was a pianist and composer of Hungarian and German ancestry. He was a child prodigy. Among other teachers, he studied with Friderich Wieck, Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt. He suffered from tuberculosis. Filtsch composed études, Andante et Nocturne and Premières pensées musicales.


Fotino, Maria

Romanian (1913 — 1996)

Maria Fotino was a pianist and teacher. Her sister was the pianist Ecaterina Fotino-Negru and her brother the cellist Ion Fotino. She studied with renowned teacher Florica Musicescu at the Bucharest Conservatory, with Edwin Fischer in Berlin and with Santiago Riera at the Paris Conservatoire. She concertized extensively and appeared on stage with George Enescu.


Goldsand, Robert

Austrian-American (Vienna, Austria, March 17, 1911 — Danbury, Connecticut, September 16, 1991)

He concertized in Europe and Latin America and was admired by his interpretations of Chopin, whose works he recorded in the 1940s and 50s. He often programmed works by American composers in his recitals. The International Piano Archives at Maryland owns the Robert Goldsand Collection which consists mainly of private recordings of Goldsand’s concerts. 


Gutmann, Adolphe

German (Heidelberg, January 12, 1819 — La Spezia, October 22, 1882)

Adolphe Gutmann was a pianist and composer. At the age of 15, he moved to Paris to study with Frédéric Chopin and became one of his favorite students and a close friend. Gutmann appeared on stage with Chopin, Alkan and Pierre Zimmermann. He was the dedicatee of Chopin´s Scherzo op. 39. Besides being Chopin´s student, Gutmann also acted as his copyist and was present at his deathbed. Along Alkan, Gutmann was entrusted with the notes that Chopin had written in order to write a piano teaching method.  Gutmann composed nocturnes and studies for the piano.


Kalergis von Nesselrode-Ereshoven, Countess Maria

Polish (Warsaw, August 7, 1822 — Warsaw, May 22, 1874)

Countess Maria Kalergis was a noblewoman and a pianist. She took piano lessons from Frédéric Chopin and, between 1857 and 1871, she performed frequently. She was the dedicatee of Liszt´s Elegie no. 1.


Kalkbrenner, Frédéric

French (early November 1785 — Enghien-les-Bains, June 10, 1849)

Kalkbrenner was a pianist, teacher and composer. He was born en route from Kassel to Berlin. His father, Christian Kalkbrenner, gave him his first music lessons. Subsequently, Kalkbrenner studied at the Paris Conservatory and obtained premiers prix in piano and harmony. Between 1803 and 1804, he travelled to Vienna where he met Haydn, who offered him guidance, and also made the acquaintance of Clementi. In 1814, Kalkbrenner settled in England, where he achieved fame as a pianist, teacher and composer. Ten years after, he returned to Paris and found his place among the most prominent virtuosos of his day, not only in France but all over Europe, attaining an international career without precedent. Kalkbrenner invited Chopin to study with him, but the Polish composer declined the offer. However, Chopin dedicated his Concerto in E minor op. 11 to Kalkbrenner. As a composer, Kalkbrenner focused mostly on the piano. He produced piano concertos, 13 sonatas, Élégie harmonique op. 36, Caprice op. 104, and a number of other pieces such as airs variés, romances, rondeaux and waltzes. Ha also wrote pedagogical pieces including the 24 études dans tous les tons opp. 20 and 88, 12 études préparatoires, 25 grandes études de style et de perfectionnement, and the influential Méthode pour apprendre le piano-forte à l´aide du guide-mains. He invented the so-called hand-guide mechanism with the aim of helping the pianist avoid any arm movement and, as a consequence, develop the maximum finger independence possible.

[See the Frédéric Kalkbrenner Tradition]


Kanner-Rosenthal, Hedwig

Hungarian (Budapest, June 3, 1882 — Asheville, United States, September 5, 1959)

Hedwig Kanner-Rosenthal was a pianist. She studied with Leschetizky and Moriz Rosenthal whom she married and frequently performed in piano duo. She tsught in Vienna and New York. Among her students were Robert Goldsand and Charles Rosen.  


Katsaris, Cyprien

French (Marseilles, May 5, 1951)

Winner of the Premier Prix at the Paris Conservatory, Prix Albert Roussel and Cziffra Competition, he received his first musical instruction in Cameroon. He was the first pianist who recorded the complete Liszt transcriptions of the Beethoven symphonies as well as Mahler´s Das Lied von der Erde in its original piano and voice version. He also recorded a substantial number of Chopin´s works. 


Koczalski, Raoul

Polish (Warsaw, January 3, 1884 — Poznań, November 24, 1948)

Raoul Koczalski was a pianist and composer. He was a child prodigy and reached over 1000 concert performances by the age of 12. He studied with Karol Mikuli. During the 1930, he made a number of recordings with the music of Chopin. He lived in France, Germany, Sweden and Poland. Koczalski composed over 70 piano pieces in a virtuoso style.


Krzyzanowski, Ignacy

Polish (Opatów, December 24, 1826 — Warsaw, February 10, 1905)

Ignacy Krzyzanowski was a pianist and composer. He studied with Colet at the Paris Conservatoire and with Chopin. He suffered from an eye ailment which led to the abandonment of his performing career. He co-founded the Warsaw Music Society. His piano works include the Scherzo op. 21, Polonaise op. 37 and collections of mazurkas, waltzes, nocturnes and krakowiaks.


Kuchar, Jan Krtitel

Czech (Choteč, March 5, 1751 — Prague, February 18, 1829)

Jan Kuchar was an organist, pianist, harpsichordist, composer and teacher. From 1791 to 1797 he was maestro di capella of the Italian Opera in Prague. One of his students was Wojciech Zywny, one of Chopin´s teachers.  


Landowska, Wanda

Polish (Warsaw, July 5, 1879 — Lakeville, Connecticut, August 16, 1959)

Wanda Landowska was a keyboard player and composer. She specialized in the repertoire from the 17th and 18th centuries and was a crucial figure in the revival of the harpsichord. Her first public appearance on the harpsichord took place in 1903. She studied with two Chopin specialists: Jan Kleczyński and Aleksander Michalowski. Pleyel built a special two-manual harpsichord to her own specifications. She and her husband Henry Lew, a Hebrew folklore scholar, were detained in Berlin during the World War I. Landowska lectured at the Sorbonne and at the Ecole Normale in Paris. She founded the Ecole de Musique Ancienne in Saint-Leu-la-Fôret. Francis Poulenc dedicated to her his Concert champêtre. Landowska´s disciple Denise Restout edited Landowska on Music in 1965.


Leschetizky, Theodor

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]


Leybach, Ignace Xavier Joseph

French (Gambsheim, Alsace, July 17, 1817 — Toulouse, May 23, 1891)

Ignace Leybach was a pianist, organist and composer. He studied with Pixis, Kalkbrenner and Chopin in Paris. He was appointed organist at the Toulouse Cathedral in 1844. Leybach published a number of methods for piano, salon pieces and nocturnes.


Luboschutz, Pierre

Russian (Odessa, June 17, 1891 —Rockport, April 17, 1971)

Pierre Luboschutz was a pianist. He was a student of Konstantin Igumnov at the Moscow Conservtory, and also took lessons from Felix Blumenfeld and Edouard Risler. His sisters, Lea and Anna Luboschutz, were professional string players and formed a piano trio with their brother Pierre. He frequently appeared in concert with dancer Isadora Duncan, violinists Efrem Zimbalist and Paul Kochanski, and double bassist Serge Koussevitsky. Luboschutz fled Russia in 1925. Subsequently, he taught at the Paris Conservatoire, Curtis Institute, New England Conservatory and Michigan State University. He married pianist Genia Nemenoff in 1931 and formed the renowned Luboschutz-Nemenoff piano duo. They premiered numerous works including Martinu´s Concerto for two pianos and were the only piano duo to perform in concert with Arturo Toscanini.


Martini, Padre Giovanni Battista

Italian (Bologna, April 24, 1706 — Bologna, August 3, 1784)

Padre Martini was one of the most influential and renowned musicians of the 18th century. Ordained a priest in 1729, he taught counterpoint to numerous pupils who became famous composers, including J.C. Bach, Mozart, Grétry and Jommelli. According to historian Charles Burney, Martini gathered a colossal library of approximately 17,000 volumes. He maintained correspondence with such prominent figures as Agricola, Locatelli, Marpurg, Metastasio, Quantz and Rameau. Martini composed a number of sonatas and concertos for the keyboard, among other works.


Matthias, Georges Amédée Saint-Clair

French (Paris, October 14, 1826 — Paris, October 14, 1910)

Georges Mathias was a pianist, teacher and composer. At the Paris Conservatory, he studied with François Bazin, Auguste Barbereau, Augustin Savard and Fromental Halévy. He studied composition with Kalkbrenner and perfected his pianism with Frédéric Chopin. Along with Karol Mikuli, Mathias was one of the most important figures in perpetuating Chopin´s style into the next generation. He taught at the Paris Conservatory from 1862 to 1893 and had numerous illustrious pupils including Teresa Carreño, Isidor Philipp and Alberto Williams. He composed two piano concertos, chamber music some opera transcriptions.

[See the Georges Mathias Tradition]


Michalowski, Aleksander

Polish (Kamieniec, May 5, 1851 — Warsaw, October 17, 1938)

Aleksander Michalowski was a pianist, composer and teacher. He was a pupil of Carl Reinecke and Ignaz Moscheles at the Leipzig Conservatory and of Carl Tausig in Berlin. Among his students was Wanda Landowska. He composed a few piano miniatures and edited a number of Chopin´s works for Gebethner & Wolff including études, waltzes, ballades and impromptus.


Mikuli, Karol

Armenian-Polish-Romanian (Chernivtsi, now in Ukraine, October 20, 1819 — Lviv, Ukraine, May 21, 1897)

One of the most famous Chopin´s pupils, he concertized in Austria, France, Italy and Russia. He taught at the Lviv Conservatory from 1858 to 1888 and, subsequently, he founded his own academy. He was a pioneer in the field of ethnomusicology, collecting and notating Romanian and Polish folk songs. His most important work is the 17-volume critical edition of Chopin´s piano works, published in Leipzig in 1879 and in the United States in 1895, and for which he used primary sources from Chopin. He composed a number of piano pieces, particularly noteworthy are his arrangements for piano of the 48 Airs nationaux roumains.


Mildner, Leopoldine Josefine “Poldi”

Austrian-Swedish-Argentinian (Vienna, July 27, 1913 — Buenos Aires, July 7, 2007)

Her orchestra performances include concerts with the Vienna Symphony and the Berlin Philharmonic under the baton of such conductors as Böhm, Celibidache, Furtwängler, Toscanini and Walter. She lived, performed and concertized in Austria, Germany, Sweden, United States and Argentina.


Morpain, Joseph

French (1873 — February 12, 1961)

Joseph Morpain was a pianist and teacher. He studied with Émile Descombes and Gabriel Fauré. He taught at the Paris Conservatoire and at the École Normale de Musique. Among her notable students were Clara Haskil, Monique Haas and Ramón Coll. He published Comment il faut jouer du piano and 50 Chansons des Charentes et du Poitou.


Moscheles, Ignaz

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]


Nemenoff, Genia

French (Paris, October 23, 1905 — September 19, 1989)

Genia Nemenoff was a pianist of Russian descent. She studied with Wager Swayne and also with Isidor Philipp at the Paris Conservatoire. Nemenoff taught at the New England Conservatory and Michigan State University. She married pianist Pierre Luboschutz in 1931 and formed the renowned Luboschutz-Nemenoff piano duo. They premiered numerous works including Martinu´s Concerto for two pianos and were the only piano duo to perform in concert with Arturo Toscanini.


Nowakowski, Józef

Polish (Mniszek, September 16, 1800 — Warsaw, August 1865)

Józef Nowakowski was a composer and teacher. He studied piano with Wilhelm Würfel at the Warsaw Conservatory and also composition with Elsner, one of Chopin´s teachers. He taught at the Music and Aleksandryjski institutes in Warsaw. Nowakowski published 12 études op. 25, the Rondeau pour la polonaise op. 1 and the Manual of piano playing in 1850.


Perlemuter, Vlado

Lithuanian-French (Kowno, now Kaunas, May 26, 1904 — Paris, September 4, 2002)

Vlado Perlemuter was a pianist. He studied with Moszkowski and later with Cortot at the Paris Conservatoire where he received the Premier Prix, Prix d´honneur and Prix Diémer. He also took lessons from Robert Lortat and Maurice Ravel. Perlemuter was one of the first pianists in performing the complete works of Ravel. He taught at the Paris Conservatoire such eminent students as Michel D'Alberto and Jacques Rouvier. He co-authored Ravel, d´après Ravel.


Philipp, Isidore

Hungarian-French (Budapest, Hungary, September 2, 1863 — Paris, France, February 20, 1958)

Born in Hungary, he was professor of Piano at the Paris Conservatory and at the American Conservatory of Fontainebleau and, during the Nazi invasion of 1940, he fled to the United States. He became a renowned teacher, famous for his capacity to approach and solve any pianistic issue. He published numerous collections of piano exercises and studies, including the Ecole du Mécanisme, Exercices d´extension pour les doigts and Exercices de velocité, and works such as Valse-caprices and concert studies. The Isidore Philipp Archive was established in 1977 at the University of Louisville and is considered the largest Isidore Philipp collection.

[See the Isidore Philipp Tradition]


Pixis, Johann Peter

German (Mannheim, February 10, 1788 — Baden-Baden, December 22, 1874)

Johann Peter Pixis was a pianist and composer, born into a family of musicians. In Vienna, he met Beethoven, Meyerbeer and Schubert. In 1824, he moved to Paris where he was part of the circles of Moscheles, Liszt and Berlioz. Pixis became a highly regarded pianist and teacher during his time. He composed four sonatas, the Piano Concerto op. 100, sets of variations on opera themes and the Concert Rondo op. 120.


Ravel, Maurice

French (Ciboure, Basses-Pyrénées, March 7, 1875 — Paris, December 28, 1937)

Maurice Ravel was a composer and pianist. When he was three months old, the family moved to Paris. His Swiss father was an engineer and amateur pianist. Ravel´s first piano teacher was Henri Ghys and, from 1889, he took lessons from Émile Descombes, Eugène Anthiôme and Charles-Wilfrid de Bériot. He left the Conservaroire in 1895 but returned two years later to study composition with Fauré. Ravel produced numerous piano works including Gaspard de la nuit, Mirroirs, Jeux d´eau, Sonatina and two piano concertos. Ravel suffered from insomnia, ataxia and aphasia. He died a few days after a brain surgery.


Reinecke, Carl

German (Altona, June 23, 1824 — Leipzig, March 10, 1910)

Active as pianist, composer, conductor, teacher, administrator and even as a painter and poet, he received a complete music instruction from his father J.P. Rudolf Reinecke. He was appointed court pianist in Copenhagen in 1846 and taught counterpoint and piano at Hiller´s conservatory in Cologne and at the Leipzig Conservatory, which he also directed and transformed into a top and famous school in Europe. In Leipzig, he also conducted the Gewandhaus Orchestra. As a composer, he wrote a substantial amount of works including piano sonatinas, exercises and four piano concertos and was remarkably noted in the “Hausmusik” style. He also wrote books and essays on music subjects. 

[See the Carl Reinecke Tradition]


Riera, Santiago

Spanish (Barcelona, June 11, 1867 — 1959)

Santiago Riera was a pianist. He begun piano lessons with Cándido Candi. In 1885, he entered the Paris Conservatoire where he became a pupil of George Mathias and Charles Wilfrid de Bériot and received the Premier Prix in 1888. He taught at the Bucharest Conservatory until 1895. Maria Fotino was among his students.


Risler, Edouard

French (Baden-Baden, February 23, 1873 — Paris, July 21, 1929)

Of Alsatian and German descent, he won the Premier Prix at the Paris Conservatory in 1889. He carried Liszt´s tradition into the 20th century French pianism through his studies with three of Liszt´s most important pupils, and also as an heir of Chopin via Émile Decombes. He worked in Bayreuth as a stage manager and vocal coach. He was admired as a Beethoven interpreter and offered his first complete cycle of the sonatas in Paris in 1905. He also played contemporary music and is the dedicatee of Dukas Piano Sonata. He enjoyed giving monographic recitals including Bach´s entire Well-tempered clavier and concerts featuring the works of Chopin. He made a piano version of Strauss´s Till Eulenspiegel and played in concert Liszt´s piano version of Berlioz´s Symphonie fantastique. He taught at the Paris Conservatory and produced acoustic recordings for Pathé around 1917.

[See the Edouard Risler Tradition]


Rosen, Charles

American (New York, May 5, 1927 — New York, December 9, 2012)

A pianist, writer and intellectual, he studied at the Juilliard School between the ages of seven and eleven. His direct connection to Liszt through Rosenthal, to Chopin through Mikuli and to Leschetizky through Rosenthal´s wife Hedwig Kanner, convert him in a pianist who belongs to the Golden Age and a reference to the Romantic generation of pianism. Among his many interests were Romance languages, for which he earned a PhD from Princeton University and taught modern languages for a time at the MIT, and also mathematics, philosophy and literature. He produced the first-ever recording of the Debussy Études in 1951, and also recordings of such monumental works as the Goldberg Variations and The Art of the Fugue. He premiered works such as the Carter´s Concerto for piano and harpsichord and recorded Boulez´s sonatas, working closely with the composer. As an author, he published numerous books, articles and essays including The Classical Style, The Romantic Generation and Sonata Forms. He taught at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.


Rosenthal, Moriz

Polish (Lemberg, now L′viv, December 18, 1862 — New York, September 3, 1946)

Son of a mathematics professor, he inherited the pianism of Chopin through Mikuli, with whom he performed Chopin's Rondo in C major for two pianos, and of Liszt, through Joseffy and Liszt himself, with whom he studied for nine years. During this time, Rosenthal also earned a degree in philosophy at the University of Vienna. His circle of friends included Brahms, Anton Rubinstein, Saint-Saëns, Massenet and Albéniz. He toured in the USA with Kreisler and taught privately in New York. He left about four hours of recordings and composed piano works including paraphrases on Johann Strauss´s works. Ullstein Verlag published his editions of Liszt´s works. He married Hungarian pianist and Leschetizky´s student Hedwig Kanner.


Satie, Erik

French (Honfleur, May 17, 1866 — Paris, July 1, 1925)

Erik Satie was a composer. He had Scottish ancestry on his mother´s side. In 1879, he entered the Paris Conservatoire where he studied with Émile Decombes and Georges Mathias. He also studied composition and counterpoint at the Schola Cantorum between 1905 and 1912. For a time, he worked at café-concerts and in a number of theatrical entertainments in order to make a living. Spanish pianist Ricard Viñes premiered a numbered of Satie´s compositions. His piano output includes Trois gymnopédies, Trois gnosiennes, Vexations, Embrions desséchés, Menus propos enfantines and Pièces froides. Satie was a close friend of Debussy and influenced the group of Les Six. He started to drink heavily and developed cirrhosis and pleurisy at the end of his life.


Savelli, Jean-Marc

French (Mulhouse, Alsace, October 18, 1955)

Jean-Marc Savelli is a pianist. His mother came from a family of musicians who performed for the Imperial Court in Russia. He studied in his native city and later at the Basel Conservatory. Subsequently, he was a pupil of Pierre Sancan and entered the Paris Conservatoire. He is involved in music therapy and studied the effects of music on people who suffer. Savelli made a number of recordings of the music of Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninov. He appears on the book French Piano Legends by Catherine Lechner-Reydellet.


Schelling, Ernest

American (Belvidere, July 26, 1876 — New York, December 8, 1939)

Ernest Schelling was a pianist, conductor and composer. He studied with Mathias at the Paris Conservatoire and later with Moritz Moszkowski, Dionys Pruckner, Theodor Leschetizky, Hans Huber, Karl-Heinrich Barth and Paderewski. Schelling concertized widely in Europe and South America. In 1919, he was involved in a car accident in which he injured his hands. He frequently conducted the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Young People´s Concerts in New York. He composed Theme and variations and Six compositions among other pieces.


Sliwiński, Józef

Polish (Warsaw, December 15, 1865 — Warsaw, March 4, 1930)

Józef Sliwiński was a pianist, conductor and teacher. His father was the organist of the Warsaw Cathedral. His first piano lessons were under Juliusz Janotha and Kazimierz Hofman. He also studied with Leschetizky in Vienna, with Anton Rubinstein in Saint Petersburg and also with Karol Mikuli, particularly the works of Chopin. He performed in America on three different tours. He directed the Saratov Conservatory in Russian. He made a number of piano rolls in Leipzig, predominantly with the music of Chopin.


Soltys, Mieczyslaw

Polish (Lwów, February 7, 1863 — Lwów, November 11, 1929)

Mieczyslaw Soltys was a composer, conductor and teacher. He studied with Mikuli and with Saint-Saëns.


Stål, Fanny

Swedish (Stockholm, October 4, 1821 — Västerås, March 21, 1889)

Fanny Stål was a pianist. She was a pupil of Chopin in the 1840s in Paris. She was one of the most famous Swedish pianists of her day.


Stirling, Jane Wilhelmina

Scottish (Perthshire, July 15, 1804 — Dunblane, February 6, 1859)

Jean Stirling was an amateur pianist. She studied with Chopin, with whom she became very close at the end of his life. Stirling also studied with Chopin´s pupil Thomas Tellefsen. She took Chopin on a tour in England and Scotland in 1848. Chopin dedicated to her the Nocturnes op. 55. She acted as his secretary, agent and business manager and took charge of the disposal of his belongings after his death. Stirling is often referred to as “Chopin´s widow.”


Szpilman, Wladyslaw

Polish (Sosnowiec, December 5, 1911 — Warsaw, July 6, 2000)

Władysław Szpilman was a pianist and composer of Jewish descent. He studied piano with Aleksander Michalowski and Józef Smidowicz at the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw. Subsequently, in 1931 he became a student at the Academy of the Arts of Berlin where he was a pupil of Artur Schnabel and Leonid Kreutzer. Szpilman composed many songs, film scores, orchestral and piano pieces such as the suite Life of the Machines and Concertino for piano and orchestra. He founded the Polish Union of Authors of Popular Music. In 2002, Roman Polanski made The Pianist, a film inspired in Szpilman´s life and his survival of the German occupation of Warsaw.


Tausig, Carl

Polish (Warsaw, November 4, 1841 — Leipzig, July 17, 1871)

One of Liszt´s favorite pupils, who described him as having an “infallible” technique and possessing “fingers of steel”. Tausig also studied counterpoint, composition and instrumentation with the Hungarian master, and accompanied him while touring. His public debut was at a concert conducted by Hans von Bülow in Berlin in 1858. He had a vast repertoire which he could play from memory. He composed a number of piano pieces including Tarantelle and Etudes de concert, and also transcribed, arranged and edited a handful of other works. His Tägliche studien are of great value. He married pianist Seraphine von Vrabely. Tausig died of typhoid before he turned 30 years of age. 


Tellefsen, Thomas

Norwegian (Trondheim, November 26, 1823 — Paris, October 6, 1874)

Thomas Tellefsen was a pianist and composer. He studied in Paris with Charlotte Thygeson, with Kalkbrenner and, between 1844 and 1847, with Chopin, with whom he became very close. After Chopin´s death, Tellefsen continued teaching some of his students including Jane Stirling. He composed two concertos, mazurkas, Norwegian dances and a Sonata for two pianos among other works.


Tomášek, Václav Jan Krtitel

Bohemian (Skuteč, April 17, 1774 — Prague, April 3, 1850)

Václav Tomášek was a composer and teacher. He studied with Abbé Vogler and Forke but was mainly self-taught in music. He settled in Prague in 1790 and studied mathematics, history, aesthetics, philosophy and law at Charles University. He met Haydn and Beethoven in Vienna and also made the acquaintance of Clara Schumann, Wagner, Berlioz, Paganini and Ole Bull. Among his notable students were Dreyshock, Hanslick and Würfel. Tomášek composed variations, sonatas, rhapsodies and German dances among other works.


Tragó y Arana, José

Spanish (Madrid, September 25, 1857 — Madrid, January 3, 1934)

José Tragó was a pianist, composer and teacher. Heir of Chopin´s tradition through Georges Mathias, Tragó played her debut concert in Paris at the Salle Pleyel in 1880. He frequently appeared with such musicians as Sarasate o Fernández Arbós. Since 1886, Tragó taught at the Madrid Conservatory. He composed a number of piano pieces including Tarantela y Zortzico. Spanish pianist Ana Benavides recorded his piano oeuvre in Piano inédito español del siglo XIX. 

[See the José Tragó Tradition]


Vogler, Abbé Georg Joseph

German (Würzburg, June 15, 1749 — Darmstadt, May 6, 1814)

Abbé Vogler was a keyboard player, theorist, teacher, organ designer and composer. He precluded Romanticism in music through his chromatic harmony and colorful orchestration, with the use of folk materials. He studied music with Padre Martini in Bologna, theology and also law in Würzburg and Bamberg. Pope Pius VI named him Knight of the Golden Spur. Upon his return to Mannheim, Vogler published several pedagogical treatises and opened a music school. He travelled extensively and lived in Paris, London, Munich, Stockholm, Gibraltar, Tangiers, Copenhagen, Berlin, Prague and Vienna, where he met Haydn. Vogler composed ka number of keyboard works including concertos and Variations on Air de Marlborough.


Wernik, Kazimierz

Polish (Warsaw, 1828 — Saint Petersburg, May 4, 1859)

Kazimierz Wernik was a pianist and composer. He studied with Józef Nowakowski in Warsaw and with Chopin in Paris. In 1849, he settled in Saint Petersburg where he was to remain for the rest of his days. His piano output includes the Piano Concerto, mazurkas, nocturnes and polonaises.


Williams, Alberto

Argentine (Buenos Aires, November 23, 1862 — Buenos Aires, June 17, 1952)

Alberto Williams was a pianist, conductor, composer and teacher. He received his first piano lessons from Pedro Beck and Luis Bernasconi. Thanks to the support of a scholarship, he entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1882 and became a pupil of Georges Mathias, and also studied composition with Franck. Upon his return to Argentine, he became a fundamental figure in Buenos Aires, introducing the European pedagogical methods in the nation. Williams directed concerts series such as the National Library Concerts and the Popular Concerts. He was involved in the foundation of the Buenos Aires Conservatory, later renamed Williams Conservatory, which he directed until 1941. Williams was a pioneer of the nationalistic movement in Argentina. Among his works are Souvenir d´enfance op. 2, Mazurca op. 3, El rancho abandonado and Poemas.


Würfel, Václav Vilém

Bohemian (Plańány, May 6, 1790 — Vienna, March 23, 1832)

Václav Vilém Würfel was a pianist and composer. He studied in Prague with Tomášek. In 1815, he moved to Warsaw where he taught organ and thoroughbass at the conservatory. He published a number of pedagogical works for keyboard including Euterpe. Würfel taught the young Chopin and was in close terms with the family.


Zywny, Wojciech

Polish (Bohemia, May 13, 1756 — Warsaw, February 21, 1842)

Wojciech Zywny was a teacher and composer. In Poland, he worked at the court of Prince Kazimierz Sapieha. Subsequently, he moved to Warsaw where he became a well-known piano teacher. He taught Chopin from 1816 to 1822. Zywny composed sonatas, preludes and polonaises for piano.


© 2021, by Daniel Pereira