The Johann Nepomuk Hummel Tradition
Piano Traditions Through Their Genealogy Trees
© 2021, by Daniel Pereira
Doctor of Musical Arts | www.daniel-pereira.com
Argentinian-Swiss (Buenos Aires, June 5, 1941)
Martha Argerich is a pianist. Her paternal ancestors were Catalonian, and her maternal grandparents were Jewish who emigrated from the Russian Empire. Argerich made her début at the age of eight in Buenos Aires performing Mozart´s D minor Concerto KV 266, Beethoven´s First Piano Concerto and Bach´s French Suite no. 5. In 1957, at the age of 16, she won both the Busoni and Geneva competitions and, in 1965, she won first prize in the Chopin competition in Warsaw. When Argerich was 19, she made a recording for Deutsche Grammophone containing Prokofiev´s Toccata and Liszt´s Sixth Hungarian Rhapsody. At the peak of her performing concert career, she played over 150 concerts a year. Gradually, she started avoiding solo piano recitals and began appearing more frequently in chamber music with Nelson Freire, Stephen Bishop-Kovacevich, Gidon Kremer, Mischa Maisky and others, as well as with orchestra. Argerich has supported young musicians over the years including Sergio Tiempo, Gabrielle Baldocci and Gabriela Montero. She is the president of the International Piano Academy Lake Como. She has made numerous recordings. Argerich married three times: to Chinese composer conductor Robert Chen, to Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit, and to pianist Stephen Kovacevich. One of her daughters, Stéphanie, made the film Bloody Daughter, a documentary on her mother. Martha Argerich is a cancer survivor.
German-Norwegian (Neunkirchen, May 6, 1794 — Oslo, November 11, 1873)
Arnold arrived in Christiania (now Oslo) as a political refugee in 1847 and became a highly respected teacher, composer, pianist and theorist. He composed a Piano Concerto and music for the coronation of Charles XV.
Polish-Belgian (Lemberg, July 10, 1896 — Cologne, October 18, 1985)
Askenase was a pianist and teacher. During the World War II, he served in the Autro-Hungarian army. He concertized extensively over the course of six decades. Askenase taught at the Cairo Conservatory between 1922 and 1925. Subsequently, he returned to Europe and settled in Brussels, where he taught at the Royal Conservatory and became a Belgian citizen. Askenase also taught at the Rotterdam Conservatory. He recorded most of Chopin´s piano works for Deutsche Grammophon in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1965, Askenase founded The Arts and Music Society, whose main objective was to preserve the historical Rolandseck railway station upon the river Rhine. Upon its restoration, the station became an important concert venue.
German-Swiss (Leipzig, March 26, 1884 — Villach, July 5, 1969)
Largely self-taught after the age of 15, Backhaus has become known for posterity for making the first-ever recordings of a piano concerto (Grieg´s concerto, 1909) as well as the complete Chopin etudes. Backhaus was a pianist of a formidable technique even at an advanced age, demonstrated by the performance of Brahms´ Second Piano Concerto in London when he was in his 80s, with Otto Klemperer conducting. According to him, his technique was based on scales, arpeggios and Bach. His international career was launched after winning the Rubinstein Prize in Paris in 1905.
Benedict, Sir Julius
British (Stuttgart, November 27, 1804 — London, June 5, 1885)
Sir Julius Benedict was a British composer, conductor and pianist. He was of German Jewish descent. At 15, he was sent to Weimar to study with Hummel, who introduced him to Beethoven. Benedict also studied with Weber, with whom he had close relationship materialized in a biography of the German composer published in 1881. He lived in Naples for nine years and became a respected musician in Italy. In 1835, Benedict settled in London. In 1850, he toured with Jenny Lind in the United States, conducting many of her concerts. Benedict was a talented pianist and dedicated much of his time to this instrument. He composed three piano concertos, many fantasies on opera themes by Balfe, Bellini, Donizetti, Gounod and Verdi, and on Irish, Scottish and Welsh melodies. He also wrote a number of variations, dances and marches. Benedict published an edition of piano works by Beethoven, Dussek, Mendelssohn and Weber, as well as pedagogical pieces. Benedict died suddenly from heart failure.
Bocklet, Carl Maria von
(Prague, November 30, 1801 — Vienna, July 15, 1881)
Pianist and violinist, he caused great sensation in Vienna improvising his free fantasias on the piano, and Beethoven wrote recommendation letters for him. He was in close terms with Franz Schubert and premiered his Piano Trios. He contributed with one variation to part II of Diabelli´s Vaterländischer Künstlerverein.
German (Hamburg, May 7, 1833 — Vienna, April 3, 1897)
One of the greatest composers of all time, his father made a living by playing in dance halls and taverns. Although his upbringing was within a modest family, he was a keen reader of many subjects and amassed a substantial personal library of over 800 volumes, now conserved at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. He was fond of folklore and contributed to support his family and himself by playing at the “Schänken”, in theatres and probably at sailor´s bars. He was in close terms with Joseph Joachim and Clara Schumann, with whom he was likely enamored. In the 1850s, Brahms signed a manifesto against the “Music of the Future”, particularly that of Liszt. His piano compositions are among the finest in the history of the piano repertoire. He wrote two colossal piano concertos, several sets of variations, three sonatas, ballades, waltzes and the last sets of shorter pieces such as the opp. 116, 117, 118 and 119. He also produced many chamber music works of the highest quality that became part of the standard repertoire. He was diagnosed with liver cancer and died at the age of 63. He is buried in Vienna close to the remains of Beethoven and Schubert.
Hungarian (Pest, October 20, 1799 — Pest, April 15, 1871)
A distinguished musical figure in mid-nineteenth century Hungary, Bräuer was active as a conductor, pianist, violinist, teacher and composer. Among his teachers is Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Mozart´s protégé, and Stephen Heller was his most famous pupil.
Bülow, Hans Guido Freiherr von
German (Dresden, Germany, January 8, 1830 — Cairo, Egypt, February 12, 1894)
One of the most important piano heirs of Liszt´s tradition, he concertized in Europe and America achieving important feats as the premiere of Tchaikovsky´s First Piano Concerto in Boston in 1875, being the first pianist ever to perform the complete Beethoven sonatas in a single cycle or giving the first performance of Liszt´s Sonata in B minor. He was a superb pianist with an excellent memory and precision. He was also a professional conductor and gave the premieres of Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. He held the positions of Hofkapellmeister in Munich and in Hanover, Hofmusikdirektor in Meiningen and principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic from 1887 to 1892. He composed a number of piano pieces and made some piano transcriptions of orchestral works by Wagner, Glück and Weber. He was married to Liszt´s daughter Cosima until she left him for Richard Wagner.
[See the Hans von Bülow Tradition]
Italo-English (Rome, January 23, 1752 — Evesham, Worcester, March 10, 1832)
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 theAart 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, and signed a contract with Beethoven to publish a few major works. He is buried at the cloisters of Westminster Abbey in London.
[See the Muzio Clementi Tradition]
Austrian (Vienna, February 21, 1791 — Vienna, July 15, 1857)
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]
Bohemian (Hořovice, Czech Republic, June 17, 1785 — Vienna, September 22, 1831)
He collaborated in Anton Diabelli´s variations project, Vaterländischer Künstlerverein, with variation number 5. Among his students were pianist Leopolidine Blahetka and Beethoven´s nephew Carl.
D´Albert, Eugène Francis Charles
German (Glasgow, April 10, 1864 — Riga, March 3, 1932)
Composer, pianist, teacher and editor, Domenico Alberti was one of his ancestors, and his grandfather worked as Napoleon´s assistant. Admired by Anton Rubinstein and Clara Schumann, Liszt considered him among his best students. D´Albert was in close terms with Brahms, whose piano concertos he played under the composer´s baton. Although he mastered a vast repertoire, he particularly excelled in performing the German composers. He was the dedicatee of Strauss´s Burleske. He wrote piano concertos, a suite and some other pieces, and a good number of operas. His Bach transcriptions and editions were highly praised and equaled to Busoni´s. Among D´Albert´s six wives was Venezuelan pianist Teresa Carreño.
Dayas, William Humphreys
American (New York, September 12, 1863 — Manchester, England, May 3, 1903)
An accomplished pianist, he favored teaching to concertizing and held positions at several conservatories in Europe. He was in close terms with Liszt and Busoni. He composed some piano works and songs.
French (Paris, February 8, 1839 — Paris, December 9, 1913)
Believed to be Charles Valentin Alkan´s illegitimate son, he was a skillful pedal piano player. He had many interests including fencing, athletics, parrots and painting, and was a friend of Édouard Manet, Georges Bizet and Pauline Viardot. Saint-Saëns dedicated to him his Piano Concerto no. 3. Although his music output is substantial, the first-ever acoustic recording of one of Delaborde´s pieces was made in 2014 by Vincenzo Maltempo as part of the Rarities of Piano Music.
Austrian (Naples, April 20, 1814 — Florence, February 21, 1856)
Döhler was a pianist and composer. He was a child prodigy and was sent to Vienna around 1829 to study with Czerny. From 1836 to 1846, Döhler toured internationally as a piano virtuoso. After he married the Russian Princess Chermetev, he abandoned the concert stage and settled in Florence in 1848. Döhler composed a Piano Concerto op. 7, Nocturne op. 24, Tarantella op. 39 and Romance sans paroles, among other works.
Eberwein, Maximilian Carl
German (1814 — 1875)
Max Eberwein was a pianist, composer and child prodigy. He was firstly taught by his father, Carl Eberwein, a notable composer and violinist and then by Hummel. Among his pupils in Dresden was Hans von Bülow.
Austrian (Vienna, October 5, 1822 — Berlin, December 30, 1899)
Heinrich Ehrlich was a pianist, teacher, writer and critic. He was of Hungarian descent. Ehrlich lived in Bucharest, Hanover, Wiesbaden, London and Frankfurt. He settled in Berlin 1862 where he taught at the Stern Conservatory. In 1885, Ehrlich was appointed professor of the Vienna Conservatory. Liszt extracted one of the themes of his Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2 from Ehrlich´s unpublished Konzertstück in ungarischen Weisen. He also edited Carl Tausig´s Tägliche Studien.
American (Bayou Goula, United States, May 21, 1844 — Watertown, United States, February 28, 1928)
Pianist, writer and activist, she was strongly committed and involved in improving and consolidating the role of women in music as performers and composers. She was admired not only as a pianist but as lecturer and teacher. Fay complemented her concert appearances with comments on the compositions included on the programs. She was an active participant in the events organized by the women-only Amateur Musical Club of Chicago and, from 1903 to 1914, she was president of the New York Women´s Philharmonic Society. Her book Music Study in Germany is a noteworthy source of information on Liszt´s life. She also published a number of finger exercises for the piano. Among her friends were Paderewski and Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler. Her sister Rose was the second wife of the conductor Theodore Thomas, and her brother Charles Norman, one of the founders of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Fladt, Frau Geheimratin von
Frau von Fladt was a student of Abbé Vogler and taught pianist Adolph Henselt.
Russian (Chisinau, March 10, 1875 — Moscow, November 26, 1961)
Alexander Goldenweiser was a pianist, teacher, writer and composer. He studied with Siloti and Pabst at the Moscow Conservatory. He developed a close relationship with Rachmaninov, Scriabin and Medtner. He taught at the Moscow Conservatory from 1906 to 1961 and had a profound impact on the music education system after the revolution. In 1932, he founded the Central Music School. Goldenweiser had numerous illustrious students such as Bashkirov, Feinberg, Nikolayeva and Paperno. In 1955, his apartment became a museum.
[See the Alexander Goldenweiser Tradition]
Grøndahl, Agathe Backer
Norwegian (Holmestrand, December 1, 1847 — Cristiania, now Oslo, June 4, 1907)
Married to the conductor Olams Andreas Grøndahl, she had an important impact in Norway both as a pianist and composer, particularly for her songs and for the over 120 piano pieces she composed. Noteworthy are the Serenade op. 15 no. 1, the Ballade op. 36 no 5, Sommervise op. 45 no. 3 and the Six Concert-etuder op. 11.
Austrian (Haselberg, June 5, 1789 — Vienna, April 6, 1872)
An official of the Imperial and Royal Army for a period of three years, he met Beethoven and performed his works on a few occasions, writing a four-hand arrangement of the Grosse Fugue for Artaria. He also collaborated with a variation for Anton Diabelli´s project.
Haydn, Franz Joseph
Austrian (Rohrau, Lower Austria, March 31, 1732 — Vienna, May 31, 1809)
Franz Joseph Haydn was a composer. He is regarded as the father of the symphony and of the string quartet. Haydn was a friend and mentor of Mozart and a tutor of Beethoven. His younger brother was the composer Michael Haydn. From 1761 to 1790, Haydn worked solely for the Prince of Esterházy at the prince´s palace in what is nowadays Hungarian territory. Haydn´s duties included not only composing, playing chamber music and conducting the orchestras but being responsible for paying the musicians, acquiring and maintaining the collection of instruments and for opera productions. Haydn travelled to London on two occasions between 1791 and 1795. Subsequently, he settled in Vienna for the rest of his life. At his funeral service, Mozart´s Requiem was performed. Haydn´s keyboard oeuvre contains concertos, numerous sonatas, variations, Fantasy in C major and Capriccio in G major. The most extensive catalogue of Haydn´s works was compiled by Anthony von Hoboken, completed in 1978. The keyboard works appear under the Hob. XVI, XVII, XVIIa and XVIII entries. Another in-depth study was conducted by H.C. Robbins Landon.
Hungarian-French (Pest, May 15, 1813— Paris, January 14, 1888)
Of Jewish descent, he went to Vienna to study with Carl Czerny, but his father was not able to afford his expensive fees. Through Anton Halm, he met Schubert and Beethoven. When he was on a concert tour in Augsburg, he fell ill from nervous fatigue and remained in that city for about eight years. He collaborated with Schumann writing for the Neue Zeitschrift and the German composer highly appreciated his letters exchange with him. He settled in Paris in 1838 and became Berlioz´s closest friend, writing for the Gazette musicale. In his later years, he did not enjoy public performing and he also started having sight problems. Heller published a substantial amount of piano works, which range from the elementary level to virtuoso-like compositions. Examples of his varied piano writing are the etudes opp. 16, 45, 46, 47, 90 and 125, the Introduction, variations and finale op. 6, the Sonata op. 143 and the Preludes op. 150. Liszt and other pianists played his etude de concert La chasse op. 29 frequently. He also wrote transcriptions of Schubert lieder.
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.
[See the Adolf von Henselt Tradition]
German (Filehne, 1853 or 1854 — Bingen, 1922)
Carl Heymann was a pianist, composer and teacher. After his debut, he was described by the critics as “the new Liszt” or “the second Rubinstein”. Heymann suffered from psychological episodes which dwindled his pianistic abilities. He taught at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt am Main from 1879 to 1880 and was succeeded by the young Edward MacDowell. Heymann spent the last years of his life in a mental institution.
German (Frankfurt, October 24, 1811 — Cologne, May 11, 1885)
Ferdinand Hiller was a composer, conductor, pianist and teacher. He became close friends with Berlioz, Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, Wagner and Mendelssohn, who Hiller succeeded as conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig. Hiller composed the Piano Concerto op. 69, Konzertstück op. 113, Sonata op. 47, and Ghazèles, among other works.
Hummel, Johann Nepomuk
Austrian (Pressburg, now Bratislava, November 14, 1778 — Weimar, October 17, 1837)
One of the most famous pianists and composers of his time, he was also active as a conductor and teacher. 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 Mozart´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. Hummel met and had a profound impact on Chopin, Liszt and Schubert, who had dedicated to him his last three piano sonatas until Diabelli posthumously changed the dedicatory to Schumann. He 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, selling thousands of copies. He 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. He married the singer Elisabeth Röckel and 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. He 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, among other works.
German-American (Eastern Prussia, May 27, 1881 — November 19, 1960)
Member of the Brahms Piano Trio, he started to play the piano at age four and offered his first recital at the age of eight in Berlin. He was once equaled to Paderewski and Hofmann as being one of the greatest pianists of his time. He offered American pianist Byron Janis a scholarship to study with him, but Janis rejected it in favor of studying with Adele Marcus in New York.
Hungarian-American (Hunfalu, Hungary, July 3, 1852 — New York, June 25, 1915)
Although he studied with Liszt for two summers, he claimed that he benefited more from Carl Tausig´s teaching in Berlin. He edited works of Chopin and Liszt for Schirmer and published in 1902 the School of Advanced Piano Playing. His manuscript and score collection was destroyed due to a fire in his house.
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]
Norwegian (Christiania, now Oslo, September 17, 1815 — Christiania, August 11, 1868)
Although his family did not want him to study music but law, music remained always his main interest. Due to a severe illness, he travelled to Paris where he could experience the intense musical life there. Upon his return to Christiania, his father, brother and sister died within a short period of time. Subsequently, he had to work as a journalist but continued to learn music. Years later, he was able to study composition with Gade in Copenhagen and with E.F. Richter in Leipzig.
Köhler, Christian Louis
German (Brunswick, September 5, 1820 — Königsberg, Kaliningrad, February 16, 1886)
An important music critic for over 40 years, he dedicated his life mostly to piano pedagogy, being influenced by Liszt. He published collections of instructional exercises, editions of Classical and Romantic repertoire and pedagogy books. Particularly remarkable among them is the Systematische Lehrmethode. He wrote a number of piano pieces and was appointed Professor by the King of Prussia.
American (New York, NY, December 18, 1860 — New York, NY, January 23, 1908)
Edward MacDowell was a composer, pianist and teacher. He had English ancestry on his mother side and Scottish-Irish on his father´s. MacDowell studied at the Paris Conservatoire and at the Hoch Konservatorium in Frankfurt, and also in Stuttgart and Wiesbaden. After he returned to the United States, he lived in Boston and finally settled in New York, where he taught and developed the newly created music program at Columbia University. MacDowell resigned the teaching position at Columbia and fell into a depression afterwards, suffering from insomnia. His mental and physical health declined severely, and he never recovered. Furthermore, he was run over by a Hansom cab in New York in 1904. The first seven opus numbers of his output were published under the pseudonym Edgar Thorne, published between 1896 and 1898. MacDowell composed numerous piano works such as the two piano concertos, four sonatas and miniatures. The most famous of the short pieces were composed between 1896 and 1902, namely, the Woodland Sketches, Sea Pieces, Fireside Tales and New England Idyls. The Venezuelan pianist Teresa Carreño was a champion of MacDowell´s music in the United States.
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.
German (Nienstädten, near Altona, July 23, 1806 — Altona, November 18, 1887)
Appointed Royal Music Director in 1875 in Hamburg, he was a respected and demanded teacher whose most famous pupil was Johannes Brahms, who dedicated to him his Second Piano Concerto. Marxsen not only taught Brahms the piano but also strict counterpoint and the works of Bach and Beethoven. He composed numerous piano works including the Fantasie “alla moda” über den Kaffee, based on the notes c-a-f-f-e-e, published the same year as Schumann´s Abegg Variations.
[See the Eduard Marxsen Tradition]
Bohemian (Prague, May 23, 1794 — Leipzig, March 10, 1870)
Of Jewish descent, besides the piano he studied counterpoint with Albrechtsberger and composition with Salieri in Vienna, where he met Beethoven. The publisher Artaria commissioned him to write a piano reduction of Beethoven´s opera Fidelio. Clementi and Cramer regarded him as an equal and friend, as well as Mendelssohn, whom he taught piano. He also met Chopin and played with him his Grande sonata op. 47. He taught at the Royal Academy of Music and was conductor of the Philharmonic Society, conducting the first performance of Beethoven´s Missa Solemnis in London in 1832. He also taught at the Leipzig Conservatory. He translated and edited Schindler´s biography of Beethoven and published it as The Life of Beethoven. Moscheles established the “historical soirées” in London which championed early music played on the harpsichord. Moscheles commissioned Chopin´s Trois nouvelles études for his piano method. He composed numerous piano works including the Sonate mélancolique op. 49, La marche d´Alexandre op. 32, Präeludien op. 73, sonatas, fantasias, rondos, variations, etudes opp. 70 and 95, piano concertos, and the Hommage á Händel op. 92 for two pianos.
[See the Ignaz Moscheles Tradition]
Mozart, Franz Xaver Wolfgang
Austrian (Vienna, July 26, 1791 — Carlsbad, July 29, 1844)
The sixth child and younger surviving son of Mozart and Constanze, he studied composition with Salieri, Vogler and Albrechtsberger, among others. Between 1819 and 1821 he toured extensively in Europe and in 1842 the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome named him “maestro compositore onorario”. His compositions range from the influence of his teacher Hummel to the style of Chopin and Liszt. They include a number of variations, piano concertos and polonaises.
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Austrian (Salzburg, January 27, 1756 — Vienna, December 5, 1791)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a composer, keyboard and violin player. He is regarded among the major exponents of the Viennese Classicism and one of the most astonishing music geniuses in history. He was baptized as Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus. He was the son of Leopold Mozart who took responsibility for the education of his son not only in music but in mathematics, reading, writing, literature, languages, dancing and moral and religious ideas. Wolfgang Amadeus composed his first works at the age of five. Mozart and his family travelled extensively all over Europe between 1762 and 1773. Subsequently, he lived in Salzburg and finally settled in Vienna. W.A. Mozart married Constanze Weber, a cousin of composer Carl Maria von Weber. Mozart excelled in all music genres. His piano output is large including 27 piano concertos for one, two and three pianos, 18 piano sonatas, fantasies, rondos, and variations such as Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman and other sets on themes by Fischer, Salieri, Grétry, Paisiello, Gluck and Sarti. He also produced a sonata for two pianos and works for piano duet. The first edition of the Köchel catalogue of Mozart´s works was completed in 1863 by Ludwig von Köchel.
[See the Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Tradition]
Austrian (Vienna, December 21, 1826 — Jugenheim, near Darmstadt, May 9, 1905)
Active as pianist, editor, teacher and writer, his mother came from the family of the renowned piano manufacturing company Streicher. He taught at the Royal Academy of Music, succeeding Cipriani Potter, and at the Royal College of Music in London since its foundation in 1876. His series of historical performances of harpsichord and piano music were a landmark in England´s musical life. He was interested and lectured on the history of keyboard music and pedagogy. As editor, he produced Old English Composers for the Virginal and Harpsichord, 12 books of Alte Klaviermusik, 65 issues of Alte Meister and Alte Tänze. He also edited works of Clementi, Moscheles, Mendelssohn and Liszt´s transcriptions of Schubert songs. He made arrangements for piano or piano duets of Beethoven and Schumann symphonies. He published a number of books on music such as The Art of Pianoforte Playing, The Elements of the Beautiful in Music, Musical Forms and a Dictionary of Pianists and Composers for the Pianoforte with an Appendix of Manufacturers of the Instrument. His son was the pianist Max von Pauer.
Austrian (Innsbruck, April 20, 1875 — Munich, October 12, 1950)
Son of the composer Josef Pembaur the Elder and married to the pianist Maria Elterich, with whom she performed two piano recitals, he was an active teacher and concert pianist. He was juror for the Ibach Prize in Berlin. He composed a handful of piano pieces.
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.
Russian (Oneg, April 1, 1873 — Beverly Hills, March 28, 1943)
Sergei Rachmaninov was a pianist, conductor and composer. The dates on his tomb show his birthdate as April 2. He received his first piano lessons from his mother and then from Anna Ornatskaya, a former student of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. Rachmaninov´s family moved to Saint Petersburg, where he attended the conservatory and studied under Vladimir Demyansky. Subsequently, he was a pupil of Zverev and also of his cousin Siloti at the Moscow Conservatory. As the Revolution of 1917 approached and turmoil grew, Rachmaninov and his family left Russia and would never return. He lived in Stockholm and Copenhagen, and finally settled in the United States in 1918. He suffered from lumbago, arthritis and extreme fatigue. Rachmaninov performed his last concert in Knoxville and, shortly after, died from cancer. Rachmaninov produced a significant piano output including four piano concertos, Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini, collections of preludes and études-tableaux, Variations on a theme by Chopin and six Moments musicaux.
Ukrainian-American (Kharkiv, July 29, 1906 — New York, December 11, 2002)
Josef Raieff was a pianist and teacher. He studied with Alexander Siloti. He taught at the Juilliard School and Mannes College of Music in the United States.
German (Königsberg, November 1, 1863 — Libau, October 3, 1907)
One of Liszt´s predilected students, he toured extensively in Russia, Siberia and China. In 1900, he became professor at the Leipzig Conservatory and also taught at the Sondershausen Conservatory in Thuringia. He composed some piano works including the Reisebilder op. 14. He recorded ten piano pieces for the Welte-Mignon player piano in 1905. Supposedly, he feared the public and sometimes appeared to be drunk on the stage.
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]
German (Erlenbach am Main, August 26, 1788 — Frankfurt am Main, July 25, 1866)
Pianist, composer and teacher, he received his early musical instruction from his father, who was an organist. He was appointed Chamber Music Composer in Munich in 1850 and received an honorary doctorate from the Giessen University. His compositions include a number of piano exercises such as the Preparatory Exercises op. 16 as well as piano concertos, piano trios and the Rondo Concertant op. 48.
Brazilian-American (Campinas, August 4, 1911 — Los Angeles, November 26, 1993)
Bernardo Segall was a pianist and composer. He studied with Alexander Siloti. He composed works for the theater, ballet, film and television. Among the film scores is the Great. St. Louis Bank Robbery, starring Steve McQueen. Segall married dancer and choreographer Valeria Bettis.
Ukrainian (Kharkiv, September 27 or October 9, 1863 — New York, December 8, 1945)
Gold Medal in 1881 at the Moscow Conservatory, his composition teachers included Taneyev and Tchaikovsky, for whom he worked as editor on the first and second piano concertos. His musical activities were broad and included the co-foundation of the Liszt-Verein in Leipzig, direction of the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra and the position of intendant at the Mariinsky Theatre. He also directed the renowned Siloti Concerts in St. Petersburg, at which he introduced such figures as Casals, Hofmann and Landowska and premiered works of Debussy, Rachmaninov and Scriabin, among many others. He published over 200 piano arrangements and transcriptions, made 8 piano roll recordings and wrote a book on reminiscences of Liszt in 1911.
[See the Alexander Siloti Tradition]
Professor of piano of Ferenc Bräuer.
Polish (Prague, 1820 — Warsaw, March 14, 1885)
A competent professional pianist and student of Sigismond Thalberg, he was the father of Carl Tausig and his first piano teacher.
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.
German or Austrian (Pâquis, near Geneva, January 8, 1812 — Posillipo, near Naples, April 27, 1871)
Sigismond Thalberg was a pianist and composer. He was, next to Franz Liszt, the greatest virtuoso of the mid-nineteenth century in Europe. He played almost exclusively his own compositions, which were mainly fantasias based on opera themes by Rossini, Meyerbeer, Donizetti and Verdi. Although he initially went to Vienna to study for diplomatic service, he became a touring and successful pianist, travelling all over Europe, Brazil, Havana and the United States, where he lived and taught for a few years. His “three-hand effect” technique became very popular. His didactic work L´art du chant appliqué au piano reveals Thalberg´s ability to combine the brilliance of the execution with his preoccupation with imbuing the bel canto into his playing. He married the daughter of Luigi Lablache, an opera singer. He spent the last few years of his life in a villa in Italy as a viticulturist.
[See the Sigismond Thalberg Tradition]
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.
Weber, Bedrich Diviš
Bohemian (Velichov, October 9, 1766 — Prague, December 25, 1842)
Bedrich Weber was a composer, pianist and teacher. Besides music, he studied theology, philosophy and law. He contributed to the foundation of an institution which led to the establishment of the Prague Conservatory and was an influential figure in raising the musical standards in his native land. His piano works include rondos, variations, marches and minuets.
Weber, Carl Maria von
German (Eutin, probably November 18, 1786 — London, June 5, 1826)
Carl Maria von Weber was a composer. He was a greatly influential figure in the development of German Romantic opera. His father founded the Weber Theatre Company in Hamburg. Weber spent most of his childhood travelling with the company throughout Bavaria. He composed his first opera at the age of 13. His most relevant pianistic influence came from Johann Peter Heuschkel. He also studied with Michael Haydn. Among other works, he composed piano concertos and sonatas. W.A. Mozart´s wife, Constanze, was a cousin of Weber.
American (Pittsburgh, November 26, 1915 — Palm Springs, California, January 23, 2010)
Considered as one of the last pianists from the Romantic tradition, he was endowed with extraordinary sigh-reading skills and technique, which obtained him his first jobs as a pianist for the Pittsburgh Orchestra, under Klemperer, and for the NBC Orchestra, under Toscanini. He premiered piano concertos by Paul Creston and Marvin David Levy, and Martinu Cello Sonata no. 2. His vast discography comprises over 30 piano concertos and 600 piano works, including pieces by Herz, Medtner, Scharwenka, Paderewski, Moszkowski and D´Albert. As a composer, he wrote symphonic, choral and piano works including the Doo-Dah Variations for piano and orchestra, and also virtuoso transcriptions of works by Gershwin, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky.
[See the Earl Wild Tradition]
A student of Karol Mikuli and Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart
© 2021, by Daniel Pereira