The Muzio Clementi Tradition

Piano Traditions Through Their Genealogy Trees

© 2021, by Daniel Pereira

Doctor of Musical Arts |


Abos, Girolamo

Maltese (Valetta, November 16, 1715 — Naples, October 1760)

Of French descent, he studied at the Conservatorio dei Poveri di Gesù in Naples under Greco, Durante and Ferrara. Subsequently, he taught there and at the San Onofrio Capuana Conservatory, and became secondo maestro at the Pietà dei Turchini Conservatory in 1754. He mainly composed operas buffas and serias.  


Adam, Louis

French (Muttersholtz, Bas-Rhin, December 3, 1758 — Paris, April 8, 1848)

Louis Adam was a composer and teacher. He taught at the Paris Conservatory from 1797 to 1842. Among his pupils were Frédéric Kalkbrenner and Ferdinand Hérold. He devised two educational methods for the piano: the Principe général du doigté pour le forté-piano and a Méthode du piano du Conservatoire. Adam composed several piano sonatas and other smaller works.

[See the Louis Adam Tradition]


Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel

German (Weimar, March 8, 1714 — Hamburg, December 14, 1788

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was a composer and keyboard player. He was one of the most important composers of the second half of the 18th century and was particularly admired for his keyboard works. He also studied law. C.P.E. Bach´s teacher was his father, Johann Sebastian Bach. His Essay on the True Art of Playing the Keyboard Instruments, published in two parts in 1753 and 1762, respectively, was to become one of the most influential treatises for many years and the first one to refer specifically to the pianoforte as a separate and distinct instrument. Both Haydn and Beethoven knew it and used it in their teaching. C.P.E. Bach also composed chamber, orchestral and vocal music.

[See the Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Tradition]


Balakirev, Mily

Russian (Nizhniy Novgorod, January 2, 1837 — Saint Petersburg, May 29, 1910)

Balakirev was a pianist, composer, conductor and teacher. He was a prominent figure in the second half of the 19th century in Russia, and particularly influenced the group known as the Mighty Five, or the Balakirev´s circle, formed by Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky and Cui. In 1867, Balakirev was appointed conductor of the Russian Musical Society concerts in Saint Petersburg. In the early 1870s, he begun to suffer a personal crisis which led to a decline in his musical activities. In order to find solace, he became a strict follower of the Orthodox church. Subsequently, he worked as a clerk for a railway company. As a composer, Balakirev was greatly influenced by Chopin, Liszt and by Russian folk. music. Examples of his oeuvre are the piano concertos in F sharp minor and in E flat, and a series of nocturnes, waltzes, mazurkas, scherzos, sonatas and the Berceuse. Balakirev´s most famous piano composition is Islamey, dedicated to Nikolay Rubinstein, who also premiered it.


Baroni, Antonio

Italian (Rome, 1738 — Rome, December 21, 1792)

A relative of Clementi, whom he also taught, he studied in Bologna under Martini and in Naples under Abos and Fago. He produced operas in Venice, Prague, Stuttgart and Rome. Baroni was appointed Kapellmeister in Stuttgart in 1771 and maestro di capella at Saint Peter in Rome in 1777.


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 brother 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]


Benser, John Daniel

German (? — ?London, December 3, 1785)

John Daniel Benser was a pianist and composer. He developed his career in England, where he travelled likely upon Johann Christian´s Bach recommendation. He John Baptist Cramer´s first teacher. In 1772, Benser became a member of the Royal Society of Musicians. He produced a few simple piano compositions and was one of the first composers to favor the new pianoforte. His works include the Sonatas op. 1, in which Benser added some remarks about the differences between the harpsichord and the piano. He also produced programmatic pieces such as The Battle and The Storm, which precluded similar pieces by Steibelt.


Berger, Ludwig

German (Berlin, April 18, 1777 — Berlin, February 16, 1839)

Ludwig Berger was a composer, pianist and teacher. He accompanied Muzio Clementi in his travels to Russia and remained in Saint Petersburg for eight years. In 1812, Berger fled to London and, three years after, he moved back to Berlin. In 1817, he suffered a nervous dysfunction in his arm and was forced to abandon the concert stage. He was a late representative of the Berlin Song School. Berger wrote a Piano Concerto, seven sonatas, etudes, variations and a number of pedagogical piano works. He directly influenced his pupil Mendelssohn´s Lieder ohne worte. 

[See the Ludwig Berger Tradition]


Bertini, Benoît-Auguste

French (Lyons, June 5, 1780 — London, June 25, 1856)

Bertini was a composer and pianist. He was the son of a church musician and composer and lived in London, Paris, Naples, Amsterdam and Brussels. Bertini made the acquaintance of Haydn, who was the dedicatee of the Three Grand Sonatas op. 1 and studied with Clementi for a few years. Bertini´s compositions include the One-fingered Waltz and the 36 Grand Fantasias for piano. He invented a device to make the wrist more flexible and published Bertini’s Self-Teaching Catechism of Music for the Piano Forte and the New System for Learning and Acquiring Extraordinary Facility on all Musical Instruments. He was the half-brother and teacher of Henri Bertini.


Bertini, Henri-Jérôme

French (London, October 28, 1798 — Meylan, September 30, 1876)

Henri-Jérôme Bertini was a pianist and composer. He studied with his father and with his half-brother Auguste Bertini. At the age of thirteen, he concertized in Belgium, Holland and Germany, and lived in London, Scotland and Paris. He produced a surprising number of compositions for the piano including rondos, fantasias, variations and études.


Blahetka, Anne Marie Leopoldine

Austrian (Guntramsdorf, near Vienna, November 15, 1809 — Boulogne-sur-Mer, January 17, 1885)

Leopoldine Blahetka was a pianist and composer. She was one of the most influential and successful women composers in the 19th century and contributed to elevate the role of the professional female musician in society. Upon Beethoven´s recommendation, she studied with Joseph Czerný. Blahetka performed with Paganini in 1828 in Vienna and concertized extensively in Europe until 1833, when she settled in the south of France and devoted herself to teaching and composition. Among her over 60 published works, we find works for piano and orchestra including the Variations brillantes op. 4, and solo piano pieces such as the Polonaise op. 19, Capriccio op. 48, Nocturne op. 62 and several collections of waltzes.


Boëly, Alexandre Pierre François

French  (Versailles, April 19, 1785 — Paris, December 27, 1858)

An underrated but important composer in France during his time, Boëly entered the Paris Conservatory when he was 11, studying violin besides the piano. In Paris, he had a selected group of friends including pianists Marie Bigot, Frédéric Kalkbrenner, John Baptist Cramer and violinist Pierre Baillot. Boëly´s oeuvre includes numerous piano works which show the evolution of the piano as an instrument. He was an accomplished organist and was one of the first to advocate J.S. Bach´s works in France.


Brzezińska-Szymanowska, Filipina

Polish (Warsaw, January 1, 1800 — Warsaw, November 11, 1886)

Filipina Brzezińska-Szymanowska was a composer and amateur pianist. Maria Szymanowska, her sister-in-law, greatly influenced her playing. Brzezińska-Szymanowska composed salon piano pieces such as mazurkas, waltzes and nocturnes as well as programmatic music.


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.


Cibbini-Kozeluch, Catherina

Austrian (Vienna, February 20, 1785 — Zákupy, near eská Lípa, August 12, 1858)

Catherina Cibbini-Kozeluch was of Bohemian descent. She was the daughter of the celebrated pianist and composer Leopold Kozeluch, who was her first music teacher. Her circle of friends included Beethoven, Moscheles, Voříšek, Chopin and the Schumanns. She married the lawyer Anton Cibbini, adding since then his last name to hers. In 1825, Cibbini-Kozeluch abandoned the concert stage after she became chaperon to the Empress Carolina Augusta. Her piano compositions include Divertissements brilliants op. 3, Introduction and variations op. 5 and the Six Waltzes op. 6. She was active as an opponent to Metternich during the Vienna uprising of 1848.


Clementi, Muzio

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 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]


Cramer, Johann Baptist

German (Mannheim, February 24, 1771 — London, April 16, 1858)

Cramer was a pianist, composer, teacher and publisher. He was a famous piano virtuoso in the 19th century and his works were crucial in developing a particular compositional writing for the piano. Although he was born in Germany, his family moved to England when he was three years old, and he spent there most of his life, with eventual concert tours throughout Europe. He was admired by Beethoven and Schumann and established relationships with many of the most renowned musicians of his day, including Haydn, Hummel, Dussek, Weber, Kalkbrenner, Cherubini, Ries, Czerny, Moscheles, Mendelssohn, Liszt and Berlioz. Cramer contributed to the introduction of Beethoven´s sonatas to English audiences. He founded several publishing businesses such as Cramer & Keys and the Cramer, J.B. & co. ltd. He produced a number of pedagogical works of importance, particularly the Studio per il pianoforte, comprised of 84 studies and used for Beethoven to teach his nephew Carl, the Instructions for the Pianoforte, and the New Practical School op. 100. Cramer also composed numerous sonatas, nine piano concertos and an extensive collection of shorter pieces such as capriccios, dances, divertimentos, rondos, impromptus, variations and nocturnes.


Czerny, Carl

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 even 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]


Dubuque, Alexander

Russian (Moscow, March 3, 1812 — Moscow, January 8, 1898)

Alexander Dubuque was a pianist, composer and teacher. He probably was of French descent. Dubuque was one of the most influential teachers in Russia, carrying John Field´s piano tradition into the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, particularly through his student Nikolay Zverev. He taught at the Moscow Conservatory between 1866 and 1872. Dubuque published a book on piano technique and Reminiscences of Field. He composed a handful of piano pieces such as Album pour les enfants, 3 études dans le style fugue opp. 95-97 and Le rossignol d´Alabieff.

[See the Alexander Dubuque Tradition]


Dussek, Jan Ladislav

Bohemian (Čáslav, Czech Republic, February 12, 1760 — Saint Germain-en-Laye or Paris, France, March 20, 1812)

Jan Ladislav Dussek was a pianist and composer. He was one of the early touring concert pianists. His musical compositions were exceptionally beloved during his lifetime and his works considerably influenced the development of the romantic piano style. According to Václav Jan Křtitel Tomášek, Dussek was the first pianist to play showing his profile to the audience. During the French Revolution, he fled to England where he remained for 11 years and appeared in two concerts with Haydn. Dussek married Sophia Corri, a famous singer, pianist and harpist and got involved in a music publishing company with his father-in-law (Corri, Dussek & Co.). Dussek persuaded Broadwood to extend the piano range from 5 to 6 octaves. Later, when the publishing firm was dissolved, Dussek fled to Hamburg and likely never saw his wife and daughter again. At the end of his life, he became obese, an alcoholic and died of gout.


Fago, Lorenzo

Italian (Naples, August 13, 1704 — Naples, April 30, 1793)

Lorenzo Fago was a teacher and composer. He was born into a family of Italian musicians, active in Naples. He was secondo maestro and primo maestro at the Conservatorio della Pietà dei Turchini in Naples. His compositions are mostly for the church and cantatas.


Fauré, Gabriel

French (Pamiers, Ariège, May 12, 1845 — Paris, November 4, 1924)

Gabriel Fauré was a composer, organist, pianist, teacher and critic. He was one of the most influential French composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, writing in a compositional style that evolved greatly over the course of a few decades. As a child, Fauré spent 11 years at the École Niedermeyer, a religious boarding school, whose curriculum of studies had a lasting impact on Fauré´s style. One of his teachers at the École was Saint-Saëns. Fauré held several positions of assistant organist in Rennes and Paris, including Saint Sulpice and the Madeleine. He was director of the Paris Conservatoire and professor of composition. Ravel, Enescu and Nadia Boulanger were among his students. In 1870, during the Franco-Prussian war, he joined the army and participated in the siege of Paris. His circle of friends included d´Indy, Lalo, Duparc and Chabrier, with whom he founded the Société Nationale de Musique in 1871. He also met Liszt in Weimar. For a time, Fauré was engaged to Pauline Viardot´s daughter, but the relationship fell apart and he ended up marrying Marie Fremiet in 1883, the daughter of a respected sculptor. Fauré´s piano output includes works such as the Fantaisie op. 11, for piano and orchestra, Trois Romances sans Paroles, nocturnes, impromptus, barcarolles, preludes and the Théme et variations. Fauré revised all the piano works of Schumann for Durant and wrote cadenzas for Mozart and Beethoven concertos. He made a few piano roll recordings for Hupfeld and Welte-Mignon between 1904 and 1913. By the end of his life, Fauré suffered of a poor health, with an increasing deafness, sclerosis and lack of breathing.


Field, John

Irish  (Dublin, ?July 26, 1782, bap. 5 September — Moscow, January 23, 1837)

John Field was a pianist and composer. His pianism had a tremendous influence on many pianists, and particularly had an impact on the development of the Russian school of piano playing. He was the son of a professional violinist and received his first music lessons from his grandfather, also named John Field, who was a professional organist. In 1793, his family moved to London where Field became Clementi´s student. Subsequently, Field also collaborated with the Italian composer by performing on Clementi´s manufactured pianos and showcasing the qualities of the instruments. Furthermore, in 1802 Field accompanied Clementi to Russia, where he was to remain for most of his life. He met Hummel and performed the duet Sonata op. 92 with him. His lifestyle of alcohol consumption and smoking likely deteriorated his health. He contracted rectal cancer. His piano compositions exerted an important influence on the Romantic piano style. His piano output is extensive and includes 7 piano concertos, 16 nocturnes, 4 fantasies, rondos, romances, Variations fa lal la and Chanson russe varié. In 1961, Cecil Hopkinson [H] introduced a catalogue of the works of John Field.

[See the John Field Tradition]


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.


Glinka Mikhail

Russian (Novospasskoye, near Yelnya, Smolensk district, June 1, 1804 — Berlin, February 15, 1857)

Mikhail Glinka was a composer. He is regarded the father of Russian music and a forerunner to the next generations of composers including Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin and Tchaikovsky. Glinka´s most famous operas, A Life for the Tsar and Ruslan and Lyudmila, became milestones in music history. Glinka was born into a noble family and had a broad education as a child. From 1824 to 1828, he worked in the Board of Communications as a civil servant. Subsequently, he travelled to Italy where he stayed for three years in order to cure his health ailments. In Italy, he met Donizetti, Bellini and Mendelssohn. He also lived for several periods of time in Berlin, Warsaw, Paris, where he met Berlioz, Auber and Hugo, and in Spain, a country which made a profound impact on him and his music. Glinka composed a number of piano pieces including sets of variations based on themes by Cherubini and Donizetti, Cotillon, Nouvelles quadrilles françaises, Nouvelle Contredanses, Capriccio on Russian themes and several mazurkas.


Gottschalk, Louis Moreau

American (New Orleans, May 8, 1829 — Tijuca, Brazil, December 18, 1869)

Louis Moreau Gottschalk was a pianist and one of the most relevant American composers of the 19th century. He was recognized as a forerunner of the ragtime. His German-Jewish father was born in London and his mother had left Haiti for Louisiana during the 1790s. At the age of 11, Gottschalk travelled to France to study music. In 1845, Chopin congratulated the young pianist after a recital at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. Gottschalk concertized in Europe, became an idol in Spain under the support of Isabella II, and toured extensively in North America, Canada, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Antilles. After he was forced to leave the USA due to a scandalous affair with a student, he travelled to South America where he continued to perform and had a profound influence on music education and Classical music in several countries. In 1869, he settled in Rio de Janeiro, and organized the “monster concerts” featuring over 650 performers. His vast piano output consists of Classical and popular works including the Souvenirs d´Andalousie, La jota aragonesa, Le banjo, Last Hope, Souvenir de Puerto Rico, Bamboula, Le bananier and the Grande Tarantelle for piano and orchestra. Pianists John Kirkpatrick, Jeanne Behrend and Eugene List have championed Gottschalk´s piano works and contributed to increase an interest in his music.


Greef, Arthur de

Belgian (Leuven, October 10, 1862 — Brussels, August 29, 1940)

Arthur de Greef was a pianist and composer. He was elected member of the Belgian Royal Academy in 1925. De Greef toured extensively in Europe and mastered a vast repertory. In 1892, he offered a series of recitals in Paris performing works from the history of piano music. He was a champion of Grieg´s Piano Concerto and was regarded its best interpreter by the composer. De Greef wrote two piano concertos and a handful of miniature pieces.


Hallé, Sir Charles

English (Hagen, Westphalia, April 11, 1819 — Manchester, October 25, 1895)

Sir Charles Hallé was a pianist, conductor and teacher. His initial name was Carl Halle, but he changed it to Charles Hallé to facilitate its pronunciation in England and France. In 1836, he travelled to Paris with the intention of becoming Kalkbrenner´s pupil, but he studied with George Osborne instead. He met Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz and Wagner and introduced Beethoven sonatas to Parisian audiences, being the first pianist to perform the complete series in Paris and in London. Chappell published his edition of the 32 sonatas. In 1848, Hallé settled in London where he became active and involved in the city´s musical life. In 1893, he was appointed director and professor at the newly established Royal Manchester College of Music. His second wife was the renowned violinist Wilma Norman-Neruda, with whom he frequently performed in England, Australia and South Africa. Hallé died suddenly from a cerebral hemorrhage.


Henselt, Adolf von

German (Schwabach, Bavaria, May 9, 1814 — Bad Warmbrunn, Silesia, now Cieplice Śląskie-Zdrój, Poland, October 10, 1889)

Adolf von Henselt was a pianist, composer and teacher. He was the son of a cotton manufacturer who moved with his family to Munich in 1817. In the mid-1830s, Henselt went into isolation in order to develop his piano technique and, as a consequence, he overstrained his muscles. He met Chopin and was in close contact with Robert and Clara Schumann and with Liszt. In 1838, Henselt travelled to Saint Petersburg, where he taught at the Conservatory and became a celebrated teacher. He had an extraordinary hand span and was able to reach an 11th on the piano. Henselt composed a number of piano works such as the Variations de concert, Piano concerto op. 16, Chant tu printemps, Donizetti variations op. 1, Nocturnes op. 6 and Ballade op. 31. Particularly noteworthy are his 24 études opp. 2 and 5. The opus numbers do not generally correspond to the chronological order of publication due to the fact that Henselt published his works with at least 30 publishing firms. Henselt edited the works of about 40 composers, frequently adding extra ornamentation.


Hüllmandel, Nicolas-Joseph

Alsatian (Strasbourg, May 23, 1756 — London, December 19, 1823)

Nicolas-Joseph Hüllmandel was harpsichord player and composer. He conceived his entire output for either the harpsichord or the piano, occasionally being accompanied by the violin. He wrote an article entitled Clavecin for the Encyclopédie méthodique of Diderot and D´Alambert. Hüllmandel was among the first composers to favor the piano as his works show. Although François-Joseph Fétis recounted that Hüllmandel studied with C.P.E. Bach, there is no evidence to support this theory.  


Hummel, Johann Nepomuk

Austrian (Pressburg, now Bratislava, November 14, 1778 — Weimar, October 17, 1837)

Johann Nepomuk Hummel was a pianist and composer. He was one of the most famous pianists and composers of his time and was also active as a conductor and teacher. Hummel was the son of a string player and conductor. He was musically precocious since the age of three. A pupil of Mozart, Hummel lived in the composer´s household where he met da Ponte, Haydn and other personalities of Vienna. He also studied with Albrechtsberger and Salieri. In 1788, he went on an extended concert tour that took him all over Europe during the next five years. In 1804, he succeeded Haydn at Esterházy and conducted the premiere of Haydn´s The Creation at the palace in Eisenstadt. In 1818, he was appointed grand-ducal Kapellmeister at Weimar, a post he held until his death. He met and had a profound impact on Chopin, Liszt and Schubert, who had dedicated Hummel his last three piano sonatas until Diabelli posthumously changed the dedicatory to Schumann. Hummel was a prolific composer in virtually all genres of the time and wrote piano concertos, variations, sonatas, preludes, bagatelles, rondos and numerous other pieces, including successful piano arrangements of orchestral works. His Complete Theoretical and Practical Course of Instructions on the Art of Playing the Piano Forte enjoyed a tremendous success and was published almost at the same time in Germany, England and France, and sold thousands of copies. Hummel maintained an unsettling but lasting friendship with Beethoven, was one of the pallbearers at his funeral and improvised at the Beethoven´s memorial concert upon the composer´s request. Hummel married the singer Elisabeth Röckel. One of their sons, Eduard, became a pianist.

[See the Johann Nepomuk Hummel Tradition]


Hymen Cowen, Sir Frederic

English (Kingston, Jamaica, January 29, 1852 — London, October 6, 1935)

Sir Frederic Hymen Cowen was a pianist, conductor and composer. Born in Jamaica, he was brought to England in 1856. At the age of six, he published a waltz and, two years after, an operetta. Hymen Cowen performed with such prominent figures as Joachim, Pezze and with the singer Trebelli. He met Liszt, Brahms, Hanslick and Hans Richter. Although Hymen Cowen concertized for a time as a piano virtuoso, he was most successful as an orchestra conductor, leading such as orchestras as the Hallé Orchestra, Liverpool Philharmonic and Scottish Orchestra. Hymen Cowen published monograph books on Haydn, Mendelssohn, Mozart and Rossini as well as his autobiography My Art and My Friends. His piano oeuvre includes a piano concerto and a Concertstück for piano and orchestra, Minna-Waltz, three Valses caprices, Rondo a la Turque, Fantasy on The Magic Flute and La coquette.


Kalkbrenner, Frédéric

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

Frédéric 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 the premier prix in piano and harmony. Between 1803 and 1804, Kalkbrenner 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, the two remained in good terms and 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 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]


Klengel, Auguste Alexander

German (Dresden, June 29, 1783 — Dresden, November 22, 1852)

Auguste Klengel was a pianist, composer and organist. He was admired by Fétis, Moscheles and Chopin. A pupil of Clementi since 1803, Klengel travelled with him to London, Paris, Italy and Saint Petersburg, where he stayed until 1811. He was first organist at the Dresden Hofkapelle. Klengel took an active role in the Bach revival and edited the Well-tempered clavier. He produced piano concertos and solo piano works.


Kozeluch, Leopold

Bohemian (Velvary, June 26, 1747 — Vienna, May 7, 1818)

Leopold Kozeluch was a composer, pianist, teacher and publisher. He was one of the most prominent ambassadors of Czech music in Vienna during the last quarter of the 18th century. He championed the use of the fortepiano instead of the harpsichord. In 1778, Kozeluch settled in Vienna where he became a renowned pianist, teacher and composer. A few years after, his growing reputation and successful professional career allowed him to reject the position as court organist to the Archbishop of Salzburg, succeeding Mozart. In 1792, he was appointed Kammer Kapellmeister and Hofmusik Compositor. Kozeluch published his compositions through his own publishing company. His daughter Catharina Cibbini-Kozeluch was a well-established pianist and composer in Vienna during the early 19th century.  Kozeluch composed dozens of sonatas and concertos for either the harpsichord of the piano, and other solo compositions including minuets, dances and caprices.


Ladurner, Ignace Antoine

French  (Aldein, near Bolzano, August 1, 1766 — Villain, near Massy, March 4, 1839)

Igance Ladurener was a pianist and composer. He was of Austrian descent. Ladurner built a reputation as a teacher in Paris since he arrived in 1788 and was professor at the Paris Conservatoire since 1797 until 1802. A few years before his death, Ladurner was immobilized by paralysis. His son Adolphe Ladurner was a known painter.


Lanza, Francesco

Italian (Naples, 1783 — Naples, 1862)

Francesco Lanza was a pianist, composer and teacher. He was the son of composer and teacher Giuseppe Lanza. They moved to London when Francesco was nine years old. In the English capital, he met Clementi and studied with him. Lanza achieved reputation in London as a pianist and composer. He returned to Naples and taught many generations of pianists at the conservatory and is recognized as the father of the Neapolitan School of piano playing. In 1804, he offered one of the first public piano recitals in Naples. Lanza composed only piano works including two concertos, fantasias on opera tunes, two sonatas and a piano method.

[See the Francesco Lanza Tradition]


Levant, Oscar

American (Pittsburgh, December 27, 1906 — Beverly Hills, August 14, 1972)

Oscar Levant was a pianist, composer and writer. He performed with the major American orchestras and also achieved recognition as a jazz pianist. As a composer, he produced a piano concerto, popular songs, works for the Broadway stage and film music, including Street Girl and Tanned Legs. He appeared both as actor and musician in a number of films and was the pianist in An American in Paris. He was a friend of George Gershwin and a renowned interpreter of his music. Levant wrote an autobiography published in 3 volumes.


Lillo, Giuseppe

Italian (Galatina, Lecce, February 26, 1814 — Naples, February 4, 1863)

Giuseppe Lillo was a popular composer of theatre works in Naples. He received his first musical instruction from his father, the conductor Giosuè Lillo. He studied piano with Francesco Lanza. Lillo co-directed the Saint Carlo school and also taught at the Naples Conservatory. His piano compositions include the Valtz variato op. 3 and Mes loisirs op. 11.


Liszt, Franz

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]


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.


Mayer, Charles

German (Königsberg, now Kaliningrad, March 21, 1799 — Dresden, July 2, 1862)

Charles Mayer was a pianist and composer. His father, a clarinet player, moved with his family to Saint Petersburg when Mayer was still an infant. He concertized extensively in Poland, Germany, France, Holland, Austria, Scandinavia and Russia. When Adolph von Henselt´s fame skyrocketed in Russia, Mayer moved to Dresden where he remained until he died. He was a renowned teacher and, purportedly, he had over 800 students. As a composer, he produced such works as the 6 Études op. 55, Souvenir de Naples op. 128, La Dernière rose op. 169 or the Novelletten opp. 179 and 183. His opus numbers are about 350. Karl Klindworth falsely included Mayer´s F# minor mazurka in his edition of Chopin´s works.


de Montgeroult, Hélène-Antoinette-Marie de Nervo

French  (Lyons, March 2, 1764 — Florence, May 20, 1836)

Hélène de Montgeroult was a pianist and teacher. In 1795, she was appointed professor of the première classe at the recently founded Paris Conservatoire. Montgeroult wrote three piano sonatas and later a Complete Course for the Teaching of the Piano in three volumes, admired by Marmontel. She died in Italy and is buried in Florence.


Mussorgsky, Modest

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 unfinished some of his potentially most noteworthy compositions.


Napoleão Dos Santos, Arturo

Portuguese (Oporto, March 6, 1843 — Rio de Janeiro, May 12, 1925)

Arturo Napoleão was a pianist, composer, teacher and publisher. He was a child prodigy and concertized in Europe, Brazil and the United States. Napoleão was admired by Liszt. He settled in Rio de Janeiro in 1866, where he was active as a pianist, teacher and music publisher, having a significant repercussion in Brazilian´s cultural life. Napoleão contributed to the foundation of the Sociedade de Concertos Clássicos. He composed piano études based on Cramer´s studies.


Novaës, Guiomar

Brazilian (São João da Boã Vista, São Paulo, February 28, 1895 — São Paulo, March 7, 1979)

Guiomar Novaës was pianist. She studied both in Brazil and in France, receiving the premier prix at the Paris Conservatory in 1911. In 1922, she married civil engineer Octavio Pinto, who was also a pianist and composer. Novaës made piano rolls and recordings for Victor and Vox, including Chopin´s F minor Concerto and Schumann´s Carnaval. She had a stroke in January 1979 and died shortly after.


Osborne, George-Alexander

Irish (Limerick, September 24, 1806 — London, November 16, 1893)

George Osborne was a pianist and composer. He was the son of an organist. Osborne studied theology and was initially inclined to pursue a religious life. Before studying with Pixis and Kalkbrenner in Paris, he mainly taught himself how to play the piano. He achieved recognition in London, where he settled in 1843, and in Paris, where he became part of the circle of Chopin, Bériot and Berlioz. Osborne composed numerous fantasies and transcriptions, mainly based on opera tunes by Auber, Rossini, Donizetti and Verdi. Osborne was the director of the Philharmonic Society and of the Royal Academy of Music, both in London. His Musical Coincidences and Reminiscences, published in 1882-3, offer a remarkable view of the lives of his contemporaries.


Palumbo, Constantino

Italian (Torre Annunziata, November 30, 1843 — Naples, January 16, 1928)

Constantino Palumbo was a pianist and composer. He performed at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1867 where he met Rossini, Henri Herz and Francis Planté. He appeared in concert with Sigismond Thalberg in Naples, where Paulmbo was appointed professor of piano at the Conservatory in 1873. He had an important influence on several generations of young pianists. As a composer, he wrote operas and piano works including the Toccata op. 21, Sonata op. 24, Suite Romantica and a collection of nocturnes, fantasies, and other pieces.


Petri, Egon

Dutch-German-American (Hanover, March 23, 1881 — Berkeley, California, May 27, 1962)

Egon Petri was a pianist and teacher. His father played in the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and taught him the violin when Petri was 5 years old. Petri also learned the organ and the horn. He became one of the most respected of Busoni´s pupils, and helped the Italian master with the corrections of operas and piano works and with the edition of Bach´s keyboard works. He had an active teaching career and held positions at the Royal Manchester College of Music, Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, Cornell University, Mills College and San Francisco Conservatory. He was naturalized American in 1955. Petri made remarkable recordings including the works of his teacher Busoni. He was fluent in 6 languages.

[See the Egon Petri Tradition]


Philipp, Isidore

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

Isidore Philipp was a pianist, composer and teacher. He was born in Hungary. Philipp was professor of Piano at the Paris Conservatory and at the American Conservatory of Fontainebleau. 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]


Pinsuti, Ciro

Italian (Sinalunga, May 9, 1829 — Florence, March 10, 1888)

Ciro Pinsuti was a composer, pianist and singing teacher. He studied composition with Rossini in Bologna and taught piano at the Liceo Musicale. In 1848, he moved to London where he became a renowned accompanist and vocal coach, and taught such opera singers as Grissi and Ronconi. Pinsuti also taught at the Royal Academy of Music. He wrote a few piano works and over 250 many songs, which became widely popular.


Pleyel, Marie Denise Moke

French (Paris, September 4, 1811 — St Josse-ten-Noode, near Brussels, March 30, 1875)

Mariel Pleyel was a pianist, teacher and composer. When she was 19 years old, she taught at a school in Paris where Ferdinand Hiller and Hector Berlioz also were among the faculty. She got engaged to Berlioz, but a few months after she married composer and pianist Camille Pleyel, whom she ended up divorcing in 1835. She was the dedicatee of Chopin´s Nocturnes op. 9, Kalkbrenner´s Fantaisie et variations sur une mazourka de Chopin op. 120 and Liszt´s Réminiscences de Norma. Marie Pleyel as admired by Mendelssohn and Liszt, with whom she performed four-hand duets. She concertized in Bonn, Leipzig, Vienna, Saint Petersburg, Paris and London. She taught at the Brussels Conservatory between 1848 and 1872 and, according to Fétis, she laid the foundation of the Belgian school of piano playing. Pleyel wrote some piano works including the Rondo parisien pour piano op. 1 and the Fantasia on motifs from Weber´s Preciosa.


Pradher, Louis

French (Paris, December 16, 1782 — Gray, October 19, 1843)

Louis Pradher was a pianist, composer and teacher. He taught at the Paris Conservatory and was the director of the Toulouse Conservatoire from 1840 to 1841. Pradher composed some operas and piano music, including a concerto, sonatas and works for two pianos. He was a famed teacher and insisted on the independence of the fingers as a fundamental aspect of piano technique. Pradher was the piano teacher of the princesses at the court of Louis XVIII and Charles X.

[See the Louis Pradher Tradition]


Rubinstein, Anton

Russian (Vikhvatintsï, Ukraine, November 16 or 28, 1829 — Peterhof, now Petrodvoret, November 8 or 20, 1894)

Anton Rubinstein was a pianist, conductor, composer and teacher. He was a colossus of the piano and was regarded an equal to Liszt. He had a tremendous impact on Russian´s musical life and education that lasts until today, establishing the pedagogical and interpretative principles of what came to be known as the Russian school of pianism. His early piano instruction came from his mother. Subsequently, he studied with Alexander Villoing who took Rubinstein on an extended concert tour all over Europe. During this period, he met Chopin, Liszt, Mendelssohn and Meyerbeer. In 1848, the Gran Duchess Yelena Pavlina took interest in the young pianist and offered him lodging quarters in one of her palaces. The duchess had him perform for the tsar´s family and, years after, she and Rubinstein envisioned and planned together a revolution in musical education in Russia. As a result, they founded the Russian Musical Society in 1859 and the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in 1862. Rubinstein embarked on several extended concert tours including one in the USA with Wieniawski in which they played over 215 recitals in a period of about 8 months. His repertoire was humongous, as seen in the seven historical recitals he gave in Europe and Russia between 1885 and 1886, encompassing all the history of the piano literature. His piano output is extensive, including five piano concertos, four piano sonatas, Tarantella, Six Preludes, Suite and the famous Melody in F op. 3 no. 1.

[See the Anton Rubinstein Tradition]


Rubinstein, Nikolay

Russian  (Moscow, June 2 or 14, 1835 — Paris, March 11 or 23, 1881)

Nikolay Rubinstein was pianist, conductor and teacher. He was the brother of Anton Rubinstein. He opened the Moscow branch of the Russian Musical Society in 1859, which later became the Moscow Conservatory, with Tchaikovsky among its teachers. Nikolay Rubinstein toured Russia as a child with Alexander Villoing and also studied medicine at Moscow University in order to avoid enlisting in the army. He was a superb pianist and teacher although, as did his brother, used to yell at his students. He died of consumption in a hotel in Paris. Tchaikovsky dedicated his Piano Trio in A minor to him.

[See the Nikolay Rubinstein Tradition]


Ruta, Gilda

Italian (Naples, October 13, 1856 — New York, October 27, 1932)

Gilda Ruta was a pianist, composer and singer. She enjoyed a successful concert career as an exponent of the Neapolitan school of pianism. She lived and taught in New York. Her compositions include a Piano Concerto, Allegro Appassionato and some chamber music works. Her father was Michele Ruta, director of the Naples Conservatory, and her mother was English singer Emilia Sutton.


Ruta, Michele

Italian (Caserta, February 7, 1816 — Naples, 24 January 1896)

Michele Ruta was a composer and pianist. He was director of the Naples Conservatory. Among other compositions, Ruta composed operas and pedagogical works. He was active as a writer and music critic and founded the journal La musica in 1855. He married English singer Emilia Sutton. His daughter was the pianist Gilda Ruta.

Saint-Saëns, Camille French

French (Paris, October 9, 1835 — Algiers, December 16, 1921)

Camille Saint-Saëns was a pianist, organist and composer. Hw was described by Gounod as the “French Beethoven”. Saint-Saëns was a child prodigy and became a virtuoso pianist and organist admired by Liszt, Gounod, Rossini and Berlioz. His official debut took place at the Salle Pleyel at the age of ten performing from memory Beethoven´s Third Piano Concerto and Mozart´s Piano Concerto K. 450, for which he played a cadenza of his own. His concert tours took him to South America, United States, East Asia, Canary Islands, Scandinavia, Africa and Russia, where he met Tchaikovsky. His output covered all genres including a dozen operas, five piano concertos, chamber music works and numerous other brilliant pieces such as the etudes opp. 52, 111 and 135, the Suite and Vals nonchalante. Saint-Saëns edited a number of works from the French harpsichord repertoire and pieces by Liszt and Mozart. His broad interests included the French classics, religion, Latin and Greek, mathematics and natural sciences. 


Schröter, Johann Samuel

German (?Guben, c. 1752 —  London, November  2, 1788)

Johann Samuel Schröter was the first composer, who according to historian Charles Burney, “brought to England the true art of treating” the piano.  His piano concertos opp. 3 and 5 are among the earliest written specifically for this instrument. Mozart wrote cadenzas for three of them. After Johann Christian Bach´s death, Schröter was appointed music master to the Queen Charlotte. He ran off to Scotland with one of his students. Subsequently, he worked for the Prince of Wales. Schröter died of lung disease. His widow Rebecca was a student of Haydn in London.


Simonsen, Rudolph

Danish (Copenhagen, April 30, 1889 — Copenhagen, March 28, 1947)

Rudolph Simonsen was a composer and pianist. He also received a law degree at the University of Copenhagen. He was a teacher at the Copenhagen Conservatory and succeeded Carl Nielsen as its director in 1931. His compositions include the Piano Concerto of 1915.


Stamaty, Camille

Greco-French (Rome, March 13 or 23, 1811 — Paris, April 19, 1870)

Camille Stamaty was a pianist, composer and teacher. He continued Kalkbrenner´s tradition of piano playing in France. While he was deciding between studying music or adventuring into business, he worked at the Prefecture of the Seine. He made his debut at the Salle Pleyel in Paris in 1835, performing Kalkbrenner´s Grand Duo in D op. 128 for two pianos, with the composer himself. In 1862, he received the Chevalier of the Légion d´Honneur distinction. Stamaty composed several piano works including the Grande Sonate op. 20, and the Sicilienne dans le genre ancient. He also produced pedagogical works as the five-volume L´ecole du pianist classique et modern and the 25 études pour piano op. 11, used by the Paris Conservatory as part of its teaching methods.


Stojowski, Zygmunt

Polish-American (Strzelce, May 14, 1869 — New York, November 5, 1946)

Zygmunt Stojowski was a pianist, teacher and composer. He studied composition with Zeleński and Delibes. After he concertized in Europe, he moved to the U.S. in 1906, where he became head of the piano department at the New York Institute of Musical Art and at the Von Ende School of Music. Stojowski became an American citizen in 1938. His compositions include two piano concertos, Danses humoresques op. 12, 2 Orientales op. 10 and Aspirations op. 39. His works were performed by such piano virtuosos as Hofmann, Friedman and Grainger. Stojowski also published numerous books on piano teaching.


Szymanowska [née Wołowska], Maria Agata  

Polish (Warsaw, December 14, 1789 — Saint Petersburg, July 25, 1831)

Maria Szymanowska was a pianist and composer. She greatly influenced Frédéric Chopin. She toured in Europe with great success performing her works as well as compositions of Hummel, Field, Klengel, Dussek, Ries and Herz, and appeared frequently with such renowned musicians as Pierre Baillot and Giuditta Pasta. She met Goethe, Hummel, Cherubini and Rossini. Szymanowska received the title of First Pianist in Saint Petersburg, and often performed in private concerts for the royalty. Her compositions include miniatures, mazurkas, marches, minuets, waltzes and exercises such as the 20 exercices et preludes, 24 mazurkas, Nocturne in B flat and Danse polonaise. According to the Grove Music Online, Szymanowska “was the first Polish composer to explore the setting of ballads”.


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.


Thalberg, Sigismond

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 his last few years in a villa in Italy as a viticulturist. 

[See the Sigismond Thalberg Tradition]


Villoing Alexander

Russian (Saint Petersburg, March 12, 1808 — Saint Petersburg, September 2, 1878)

Alexander Villoing was the son of a French émigré. He became a professor at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. His most famous student was Anton Rubinstein, with whom he toured throughout Europe. In 1863, he published the Klavierschule, a method used at the Conservatory and translated into German and French. His only published work is the Piano Concerto in C major.

[See the Alexander Villoing Tradition]


Zverev, Nikolai

Russian (Volokolamsk, March 25, 1833 — Moscow, October 12, 1893)

Nikolai Zverev was one of the most influential teachers in pre-Soviet Russia. He came from an aristocratic family and studied mathematics and physics at the Moscow State University. After inheriting a large sum of money, he abandoned his studies and moved to Saint Petersburg to become a civil servant. Subsequently, he returned to Moscow to teach at the Conservatory upon Nikolay Rubinstein´s invitation. Zverev taught many illustrious pianists including Rachmaninov, Scriabin and Siloti. He never married.

[See the Nikolai Zverev Tradition]


© 2021, by Daniel Pereira