The Theodor Kullak Tradition
Piano Traditions Through Their Genealogy Trees
© 2022, by Daniel Pereira
Doctor of Musical Arts | www.daniel-pereira.com
Agthe, Albrecht Wilhelm Johann
German (Ballenstedt, July 13, 1790 — Berlin, October 8, 1873)
Agthe played second violin in the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, and founded a music school in Dresden, which used Johann Bernhard Logier´s methods on keyboard pedagogy. Subsequently, he established similar schools in other cities and counted Theodor and Adolf Kullak among his pupils. Agthe composed some works for piano.
Aus der Ohe, Adele
German (Hanover, February 11, 1861 — December 8, Berlin, 1937)
An idolized pianist in the United States, she toured there during 17 consecutive seasons, including 51 appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the performance of Tchaikovsky´s First Piano Concerto at Carnegie Hall´s inaugural concerts in 1891 with the composer conducting. She appeared with Tchaikovsky again in 1893 playing the same concerto in Saint Petersburg, days before his sudden death. She was also a composer.
Bach Mills, Sebastian
English (Cirencester, England, March 13, 1839 — Wiesbaden, Germany, December 21, 1898)
Bach Mills was a virtuoso pianist who achieved recognition in the United States as an exponent of Liszt´s tradition. He gave the American premieres of such piano concertos as those of Schumann, Chopin´s Second, Liszt´s First and Hiller, and appeared at the Philharmonic Society concerts for 18 consecutive seasons. He also was of paramount importance in the promotion and fame of the new Steinway pianos. His piano compositions were popular for a time.
Died in 1980
Olga Barabini was a pianist and a student of Claudio Arrau. She taught privately in New York City. Garrick Ohlsson was among her students.
German (Baltiysk, near Kaliningrad, July 12, 1847 — Berlin, December 23, 1922)
Karl-Heinrich Barth was a pianist and teacher. Heir of the Liszt tradition passed onto him through four of Liszt´s students, Barth was known for his wide repertory and for being a member of the prestigious Barth Trio. He taught at the Stern Conservatory and at the Hochshule für Müsik, both in Berlin.
[See the Karl-Heinrich Barth Tradition]
Beethoven, Ludwig van
German (Bonn, baptized December 17, 1770 — Vienna, March 26, 1827)
Ludwig van Beethoven was a composer and pianist. He had Belgian ancestry and came from three generations of musicians who worked for the Electorate of Cologne. He was one of the most influential, admired and popular figures in music history. Beethoven was a great pianist and improviser and a visionary composer who transcended the limits of the piano, particularly after the illness, which isolated him —deafness— worsened. He described the state of his despairing soul in the famous Heiligenstadt Testament of 1802, addressed to his brothers Johann and Carl. 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]
German (Berlin, April 18, 1777 — Berlin, February 16, 1839)
Composer, pianist and teacher, he accompanied Muzio Clementi in his travels to Russia, and remained in Saint Petersburg for 8 years. In 1812, he 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. He wrote a Piano Concerto, 7 sonatas, etudes, variations and a number of pedagogic piano works. He directly influenced his pupil Mendelssohn´s Lieder ohne worte.
[See the Ludwig Berger Tradition]
German (Berlin, February 17, 1852 — Niederschönenhausen, near Berlin, June 12, 1889)
Hans Bischoff was a pianist, teacher and editor. He studied piano with Theodor Kullak and Richard Wüerst in Berlin. He also studied philosophy and modern languages. He taught at the Neue Akademie der Tonkunst and at the Stern Conservatory. He published influential editions of the music of Handel, Mozart, Clementi, Weber, Schubert and Schumann, including the first variorum edition of Bach´s Well-tempered clavier.
Bronsart von Schellendorf, Hans
German (Berlin, February 11, 1830 — Munich, November 3, 1913)
Hans Bronsart von Schellendorf was a pianist and composer. Liszt admired him and dedicated to him his Second Piano Concerto, which Bronsart premiered. He was in close terms with the New German School and co-founded the Neue-Weimar-Verein in 1854. Among other works, he composed a Piano Concerto and many piano pieces. He married pianist and composer Ingeborg Starck.
Bülow, Hans Guido Freiherr von
German (Dresden, Germany, January 8, 1830 — Cairo, Egypt, February 12, 1894)
Hans von Bülow was a pianist, conductor, teacher and composer. He was one of the most important piano heirs of Liszt´s tradition. Bülow 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. Bülow 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]
Italian (Empoli, Tuscany, April 1, 1866 — Berlin, July 27, 1924)
Ferrucio Busoni was a pianist and composer. Born in the region of Tuscany, his family moved to Trieste in the Northern part of the country when he was only a few months old and, as a result, he was influenced by a Germanic atmosphere. His father, who gave Busoni his first piano instruction focused on Bach, was a virtuoso clarinet player, and his Austrian-born mother was a pianist. Although Busoni was baptized Catholic, he was fundamentally an atheist. He entered the Vienna Conservatory at the age of nine but, unhappy with the curriculum of studies, left after only two years. He taught at the Helsinki College of Music, New England Conservatory in the USA and at the Vienna Conservatory, and also in Switzerland and Moscow, where he married Gerda Sjöstrand. He enjoyed giving “historical recitals”, inspired by Anton Rubinstein, such as the six concerts he performed in Berlin in 1911 championing the music of Liszt or the series of eight recitals devoted to the keyboard literature since J.S. Bach. His extensive output includes works of a broad compositional spectrum including the monumental Piano Concerto (with a male chorus finale), Fantasia contrappuntistica, Suite Campestre, 24 Preludi, Sonata in F, Sonatina Seconda and the Toccata. The letters “BV” or “KiV” following his compositions refer to Jürgen Kindermann´s catalogue. Busoni mastered an extensive repertory and produced a number of Bach transcriptions such as the organ preludes and the Chaconne and published an annotated edition of the Well-tempered clavier and of Liszt´s works for the Franz-Liszt-Stiftung. He made several 78-rpm and piano-roll recordings including Liszt´s Feux follets and Réminiscences de Don Juan.
[See the Ferruccio Busoni Tradition]
American (New York, August 17, 1903 — New York, June 21, 1987)
Abram Chasins was a pianist, composer, writer and broadcaster on music. He studied at such prestigious schools as Juilliard, Columbia University and Curtis, where he also taught from 1926 to 1935. After concertizing for two decades, he became director of WQXR. His work at this radio station helped him to win a Peabody Award. He also was musician-in-residence at the University of Southern California. Chasins composed over 100 piano pieces, including Three Chinese Pieces and the 24 Preludes. He published Speaking of Pianists, Van Cliburn and Leopold Stokowski biographies, and Music at the Crossroads, a criticism of American universities for underpreparing music students for the real world.
Russian-American (Odessa, October 7, 1909 — London, December 27, 1995)
Shura Cherkassky was a pianist and a child prodigy. He moved to America in 1923 to study with Hofmann at the Curtis Institute. After World War II, he settled in London. Among his repertoire, there were less frequently performed composers such as Boulez, Stockhausen, Hindemith, Ives, Ligeti and Berg. He made his first recording in 1926.
Italo-English (Rome, January 23, 1752 — Evesham, Worcester, March 10, 1832)
Muzio Clementi was a pianist, composer, teacher and empresario. Popularly known as the “father of the pianoforte”, his influence on subsequent generations of pianists, piano composers, publishing and manufacturing firms is undisputed. Clementi counted among his students such distinguished pianists as Ludwig Berger, Carl Czerny, John Field and Frédéric Kalkbrenner. His pedagogical works Introduction to the Art of Playing the Pianoforte (1801) and Gradus ad Parnassum (1817, 1819, 1826) became of frequent use for pianists all over the world. In his teens, Clementi´s talent drew the attention of an Englishman named Peter Beckford, who in his own words “bought Clementi of his father for seven years”. Clementi spent all that time near Dorset, England, immersed in studying music and practicing the harpsichord. After this period, he moved to London where he became a celebrity as a composer, teacher, performer, manufacturer and publisher, and signed a contract with Beethoven to publish a few major works by the German composer. Clementi is buried at the cloisters of Westminster Abbey in London.
[See the Muzio Clementi Tradition]
Norwegian (Kongsberg, October 5, 1879 — Oslo, April 6, 1951)
Halfdan Cleve was a pianist and composer. He received his first music lessons from his father, who was an organist. He later studied with Winter-Hjelm, with the Scharwenka brothers and with Oscar Raiff. He taught at the Oslo Conservatory. In 1939, the Norwegian government granted him a stipend for life. Cleve composed piano music including piano concerti, etudes and the Sonata op. 19.
Austrian (Vienna, February 21, 1791 — Vienna, July 15, 1857)
Carl Czerny was 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, 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 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]
Czech (Nimburg, near Prague, 1750 — 1832)
Wenzel Czerny was a pianist, organist, oboist and singer. He was the father of Carl Czerny and was trained as a musician at a Benedictine monastery near Prague. After he married, he settled in Vienna in 1786.
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.
German (Breslau, October 5, 1817 — Berlin, December 1, 1893)
Pianist, composer and teacher, his mainly instrumental compositions were well received by Schumann. He married pianist Tony Thiedemann. Their son Richard Franck, also a pianist, studied with Carl Reinecke in Leipzig. Franck published his autobiography in 1928.
Grøndahl, Agathe Backer
Norwegian (Holmestrand, December 1, 1847 — Christiania, now Oslo, June 4, 1907)
Agathe Backer Grøndahl was a composer and pianist. She was 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 (Prague, July 4, 1852 — Vienna, January 4, 1924)
Alfred Grünfeld was a pianist and composer. He was born into a Jewish and musical family, which included Ludwig Grünfeld, who worked for Deutsche Grammophon, and Siegmund Grünfeld, répétiteur at the Vienna Hofoper. Alfred Grünfeld studied with Theodor Kullak and Bedrich Smetana. Gustav Mahler lived with the Grünfeld family during the winter of 1871, which proved to be an unpleasant experience for him. Grünfeld taught at the Conservatory of Vienna since 1897. He produced some commercial recordings including an 1889 wax cylinder for the Edison Phonograph, and rolls for Welte-Mignon and Phonola between 1905 and 1911. In total, Grünfeld made over 150 recordings of piano music including his own compositions. His piano output includes the Octave study op. 15, Spanish Serenade op. 37, Romanze op. 42 and a number of transcriptions.
Cuban-American (Havana, August 28, 1948)
Horacio Gutiérrez is a pianist. He was a child prodigy and performed his debut at the age of 11 with the Havana Symphony Orchestra. The family moved to the United States when he was 13 years old. He studied in Los Angeles with Sergei Tarnowsky and at the Juilliard School in New York with Adele Marcus. In 1970, he won the second prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. He teaches at Manhattan School of Music. He married pianist Patricia Asher. Gutiérrez suffers from bursitis.
Austrian (Vienna, December 31, 1909 — Vienna, July 17, 1970)
Richard Hauser was a pianist and teacher. He studied with Josef Hofmann, Norbert Kahrer, Paul Weingarten and Emil von Sauer. He also studied with theory and composition with Arnold Schönberg and Anton Webern. Hauser taught at the Vienna Conservatory. Among his students were Mitsuko Uchida and Heinz Medjimorec.
German (Berlin, January 13, 1842 — Gross-Tabarz, Thuringia, July 16, 1902)
Heinrich Hofmann was a pianist and composer. He studied with Theodor Kullak, Eduard Grell, Siegried Dehn and Richard Wüerst. He was appointed to the Royal Academy of the Arts in 1882. His comic opera Cartouche in Berlin in 1869 was received to great acclaim and encouraged Hofmann to dedicate himself to composition. His piano works include Two Serenaden, Nachklänge opp. 34 and 37, and Stimmungsbilder.
Polish-American (Kraków, January 20, 1876 — Los Angeles, February 16, 1957)
Josef Hofmann was a pianist, composer and inventor. He was a child prodigy, not only in music but in history, mathematics, science and mechanics. He took a few lessons from Moritz Moszkowski and, subsequently, with Anton Rubinstein, who deeply influenced him. In 1926, he was appointed director of the Curtis Institute. He retired from the concert platform in New York in 1946. He was the dedicatee of Rachmaninov´s Third Piano Concerto, which he never played. Hofmann was the first professional musician ever to record. He made a few cylinders at Edison´s laboratory in New Jersey in 1887. As a composer, he wrote over 100 pieces, mostly under the pseudonym Michel Dvorsky. Hofmann also patented about 70 scientific and mechanical artifacts. He published Piano Playing and Piano Questions Answered. His father was the Polish pianist, conductor and teacher Kazimierz Hofmann. His mother was a singer of light operas.
German (born in 1847)
No information found.
Hood, Elene Francis
American (Chelsea, June 28, 1863 — Brookline, January 22, 1949)
Elene Francis Hood was a pianist, composer and teacher. After studies in Boston, she went to Berlin to become a pupil of Moritz Moszkowski and Scharwenka. She composed songs, chamber music and piano pieces since the 1930s.
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.
American (Melbourne, July 20, 1871 — New York, February 9, 1951)
Ernest Hutcheson was a pianist of Australian birth. He studied with Max Vogrich in Australia, with Carl Reinecke at the Leipzig Conservatory, and with Bernhard Stavenhagen. In 1900, he was appointed head of the piano department of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. In 1912, he became part of the faculty at the Juilliard School. Hutcheson published The Elements of Piano Technique and The Literature of the Piano.
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-Israeli (Rosenberg, Hungary, now Ruzomberok, Slovakia, November 27, 1882 — Tel-Aviv, January 14, 1962)
Leo Kestenberg was a pianist and educationist. He studied with Kullak and Busoni. In Berlin, he taught at the Stern Conservatory and at the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory. In 1918, he became musical adviser to the Prussian Ministry of Science, Culture and Education and, in 1922, director of the music department of the Central Institute for Education and Teaching, having a profound impact in Prussian music education at all levels. In Prague, Kestenberg founded the International Society for Music Education. In 1938, he moved to Tel-Aviv, where he was appointed general manager of the Palestine Orchestra, which became the Israel Philharmonic. He founded Israel´s first training college for music teachers.
Norwegian (Christiania, now Oslo, September 17, 1815 — Christiania, August 11, 1868)
Halfdan Kjerulf was a composer and piano teacher. 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.
German (Krotoschin, now Krotoszyn, Poland, September 12, 1818 — Berlin, March 1, 1882)
Theodor Kullak was a pianist, composer and teacher. He was one of the most eminent piano teachers in the 19th century. Kullak was pianist to the Prussian court and teacher of the royalty and aristocracy in Berlin. In that city, he co-founded and directed the Stern Conservatory, succeeded by Bülow, and later the Neue Akademie der Tonkunst, focused on piano teaching, which became the largest private school in Germany counting over 100 teachers and 1100 students. Kullak composed a substantial amount of piano works such as the Symphonie de piano op. 27, Ballade op. 54, Scherzo op. 125 and, particularly influential, the School of Octaves studies.
[See the Theodor Kullak Tradition]
Jacob James Kwast
Dutch-German (Nijkerk, Netherlands, November 23, 1852 — Berlin, October 31, 1927)
James Kwast was a pianist, teacher, composer and editor. He studied with his father and with Ferdinand Böhme, Carl Reinecke, Theodor Kullak, Louis Brassin and François-Auguste Gevaert. He settled in Germany in 1833, where he taught at the Cologne, Hoch, Klindworth-Scharwenka and Stern conservatories. He was the pianist for the English premiere of Brahms´ Piano Trio in C minor. The last piece that Clara Schumann ever played in public was the Variations on a theme by Haydn of Brahms, for two pianos, with Kwast as her partner. He wrote a Piano Concerto and made a number of Bach transcriptions, among other pieces, and edited the works of Joseph Haydn. His first wife was the daughter of Ferdinand Hiller and their daughter married the composer Hans Pfitzner, who was a student of Kwast. His second wife was one of his students, Frida Hodapp, who was also a pupil of Busoni and premiered his Concertino.
[See the Jacob James Kwast Tradition]
American (Booneville, United States, March 27, 1853 — New York, February 20, 1928)
Of German descent, he studied in Cologne, Berlin and Weimar. He compiled in several personal diaries a detailed account of Liszt´s masterclasses, comments and ideas about his fellow peers. These diaries were consolidated in Living with Liszt, a book published posthumously and edited by Alan Walker. He founded the Lachmund Piano Conservatory in New York and the Women´s String Orchestra, one of the first of its type. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts holds Lachmund´s extensive memorabilia and materials about Liszt.
Polish (Warsaw, July 5, 1879 — Lakeville, Connecticut, August 16, 1959)
Wanda Landowska was a keyboard player and composer. She specialized in the repertoire from the 17th and 18th centuries and was a crucial figure in the revival of the harpsichord. Her first public appearance on the harpsichord took place in 1903. She studied with two Chopin specialists: Jan Kleczyński and Aleksander Michalowski. Pleyel built a special two-manual harpsichord to her own specifications. She and her husband Henry Lew, a Hebrew folklore scholar, were detained in Berlin during the World War I. Landowska lectured at the Sorbonne and at the Ecole Normale in Paris. She founded the Ecole de Musique Ancienne in Saint-Leu-la-Fôret. Francis Poulenc dedicated to her his Concert champêtre. Landowska´s disciple Denise Restout edited Landowska on Music in 1965.
Hungarian (Raiding, [in Hungarian: Doborján], October 22, 1811 — Bayreuth, July 31, 1886)
Franz Liszt was a pianist, conductor, teacher and composer. He is indisputably one of the greatest piano virtuosi of all time and a pioneer in different areas: 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 Paër, he went on extended concert tours in Europe, England, Scotland, Russia, Turkey, Spain and Portugal, playing numerous and populated recitals such as the one he offered at La Scala in Milan for 3,000 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, 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 many sets of pieces including the Années de Pèlerinage, Harmonies Poétiques et Religieuses, as well as the Ballades and the Mephisto Waltzes. Liszt also made a number of 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 Hans von 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]
López Mindreau, Ernesto
Peruvian (Chiclayo, 1892 — Lima, 1972)
Ernesto López Mindreau was a pianist and composer. He studied in Peru with Federico Gerdes and, subsequently, at the Paris Conservatoire, New York City, where he was a pupil of Rachmaninov and Stokowski, and in Berlin with Scharwenka. His piano compositions include the Fantasía for piano and orchestra, Preludio en estilo antiguo and Preludio Incaico.
German (Hamburg, November 14, 1805 — Berlin, May 14, 1847)
Fanny Mendelssohn was a pianist, composer and conductor. She was the sister of Felix Mendelssohn, to whom she was particularly close. Fanny frequently advised his brother in musical matters regarding his compositions. On the other hand, until Felix Mendelsshon got married in 1837, he had a deep influence on Fanny´s activities as a composer, as she depended on his approval. Fanny studied with her mother, with Ludwig Berger and with Marie Bigot. She married the painter Wilhelm Hensel. Fanny Mendelsshon composed over 125 piano works including Pastorella, 4 Lieder op. 8, 6 Mélodies op. 5 and a Sonata. She died suddenly from a stroke.
Cuban-American (Havana, March 10, 1936)
Solomon Mikowsky is a pianist and teacher. His father was Belorussian, and his mother was Polish. He studied with César Pérez Sentenat in Cuba and with Sasha Gorodnitzki at the Juilliard School in New York. He also received a doctoral degree from Columbia University. He taught at the Manhattan School of Music and was a member of the Artist Faculty at the Chicago College of Performing Arts.
Bohemian (Prague, May 23, 1794 — Leipzig, March 10, 1870)
Ignaz Moscheles was a pianist, composer, conductor and teacher 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. Moscheles 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. Moscheles translated and edited Schindler´s biography of Beethoven and published it as The Life of Beethoven. He established the “historical soirées” in London which championed early music played on the harpsichord. He 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]
German (Breslau, now Wrocław, August 23, 1854 — Paris, March 4, 1925)
Of Polish descent and born into a wealthy Jewish family, he was also an accomplished violinist. During the 1880s, his concert and touring activities declined and finally ended due to a nervous breakdown. The popularity of his piano music contributed to make him substantially wealthy. However, from 1910 his fortune and fame declined as did his health, concluding his final years in poverty. He performed his early Piano Concerto on two pianos with Liszt. As a composer, he was famous mainly for his piano music. Examples of his output are the Concert Studies op. 24, Caprice Espagnol op. 37, Tarantelle op. 27 no. 2, Serenate op. 15 no. 1, Piano Concerto op. 59 and the Spanish Dances opp, 12, 21 and 65 for piano duet. Moszkowski married the sister of Cécile Chaminade.
Nin y Castellanos, Joaquín
Cuban (Havana, September 29, 1879 — Havana, October 24, 1949)
Joaquín Nin y Castellanos was a pianist and composer. He studied with Moritz Moszkowski. He was the father of composer Joaquín Nin-Culmell and writer Anaïs Nin. In 1880, the family moved to Barcelona. He championed works by Chambonnières, Couperin and Rameau, being among the first pianists to perform this repertoire. He taught at the New University of Brussels, Schola Cantorum in Paris and at the Conservatorio Nacional of Havana. He lived for a time in Berlin, where he established a close relationship with Teresa Carreño. His piano works include Danza ibérica, 1830 variations y Canto de cuna para los huérfanos de España. As a researcher, Nin y Castellanos studied the Spanish folklore, continuing the work of Felipe Pedrell, and had a keen interest in harpsichord pieces of French, Italian and German composers. He edited works by Soler, Freixanet and Mateo Albéniz and published several books including Pro Arte and Ideas y comentarios. He married Singer Rosa Culmell Vaurigard in 1902.
Nissen [née Lie], Erika
Norwegian (Kongsvinger, January 17, 1845 — October 27, 1903)
Erika Nissen was a pianist. She performed her debut in Berlin in 1866 and toured in Scandinavia, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and France. In 1870, she retired and dedicated her life to teaching. She married politician Oscar Nissen.
American (White Plains, New York, April 3, 1948)
Garrick Ohlsson is a pianist. He studied at Westchester Conservatory and at The Juilliard School. His teachers include Thomas Lishman, Sascha Gorodnitzki, Rosina Lhévine, Claudio Arrau and Olga Barabini. He won competitions in Bolzano, Montreal and, especially, the Warsaw International Chopin Competition in 1970, becoming the first American to have won it. Ohlsson has an extensive discography including the complete works of Brahms and Chopin. He world premiered Wuorinen´s Third Piano Concerto and his concerto repertoire includes over 80 works.
American (Cleveland, May 6, 1838 — Saint Louis, July 12, 1882)
Alfred Pease was a composer and pianist. He was a descendant of English composer Pelham Humfrey. He studied with Hans von Bülow in Germany for three years. At the end of his life, he became an alcoholic and was found dead on the street. Pease composed the Piano concerto in E-flat and numerous piano pieces.
Pérez Sentenat, César
Cuban (Havana, November 18, 1896 — Havana, May 4, 1973)
César Pérez Sentenat was a pianist. In 1922, he was appointed professor at the Conservatorio Nacional in Havana and, in 1940, associate professor at the Sherwood Music School in Chicago. In 1931, he founded the Escuela Normal de Música with Amadeo Roldán. Sentenat also held positions as Provincial Music Inspector, General Inspector and Music Director for the National Music Council of Culture. He also taught at the Conservatorio Guillermo Tomás in Guanabacoa. Along Gonzalo Roig and Ernesto Lecuona, Sentenat founded the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional of Havana and, with Roldán, the Orquesta Filarmónica of Havana. His piano compositions include Suite cubana, Carnaval humorístico, Dos estampas españolas y Preludio en todos los tonos.
American (Rome, New York, November 16, 1847 — Chicago, February 8, 1929)
Walton Perkins was a pianist and educator. He studied with S.B. Mills, Alfred H. Pease, Theodor Kullak and Anton Rubinstein. In Chicago, he helped William Sherwood in the foundation of the Sherwood School of Music in 1897. From 1907, he was the president of the Chicago Conservatory of Music. He composed a number of piano works.
German (Hubertusburg, Saxony, November 28, 1810 — Grimma, Saxony, March 3, 1874)
Louis Plaidy was a pianist and a famous pedagogue. Upon Mendelssohn´s invitation, he became a teacher at the Leipzig Conservatory. Although he initially toured as a concert violinist, he gradually became interested in piano and his technical aspects. He published numerous books of technical studies such as Technische Studien: für das Pianofortespiel.
[See the Louis Plaidy Tradition]
English (London, October 3, 1792 — London, September 26, 1871)
Cipriani Potter was a pianist, composer, conductor and teacher. The name Cipriani was taken from his godmother who claimed to be a sister of the painter Giovanni Baptista Cipriani, who belonged to the inner circle of J.C. Bach and C.F. Abel. Potter was a cultivated person, spoke four languages and was a mathematician. In Vienna, he met Beethoven, who advised Potter on his scores. Potter offered the first British performances of a number of Mozart concertos. He was an accomplished conductor, always appearing standing and without a baton. In 1822, Potter was appointed the first piano teacher at the Royal Academy of Music. His piano output includes 3 piano concertos, Sonata op. 3, Sonata op. 4, Enigma Variations op. 5, Three Toccatas op. 9, Studies in All the Major and Minor Keys op. 19 and a handful of other compositions. Potter produced score editions of various composers including the complete piano music of Mozart.
[See the Cipriani Potter Tradition]
German (Hausneindorf, near Quedlinburg, March 23, 1834 — Pillnitz, near Dresden, June 3, 1858)
Pianist, organist and composer, he was admired by Liszt and his circle. He taught at the Berlin Conservatory. Noteworthy is his Piano Sonata in B flat minor, representative of the German Romantic style and influenced by Liszt.
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 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 and, subsequently, Alexander Villoing taught the child prodigy and took him on an extended concert tour all over Europe, meeting Chopin, Liszt, Mendelssohn and Meyerbeer. In 1848, the Gran Duchess Yelena Pavlina took interest in the young pianist, offering him lodging quarters in one of her palaces, having him perform for the tsar´s family and, years after, envisioning and planning together a revolution in the musical education in Russia. As a result, they founded the Russian Musical Society in 1859 and the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in 1862. He 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 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]
Russian (Moscow, June 2 or 14, 1835 — Paris, March 11 or 23, 1881)
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. He 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 to him his Piano Trio in A minor.
[See the Nikolay Rubinstein Tradition]
Samaroff [née Hickenlooper], Olga
American (San Antonio, United States, August 8, 1882 — New York, May 17, 1948)
Olga Samaroff was a pianist and teacher. She was the first American woman to obtain a scholarship to study at the Paris Conservatory, and also studied in Berlin. She was an influential teacher and held positions at the Philadelphia Conservatory and Juilliard School, counting among her pupils numerous world-class pianists. Her successful career was interrupted due to an arm injury. Samaroff published The Layman´s Music Book and was married to Leopold Stokowski between 1911 and 1923.
[See the Olga Samaroff Tradition]
Scharwenka, Franz Xaver
Polish-German (Samter, now Szamotuły, January 6, 1850 — Berlin, December 8, 1924)
A prominent figure in the European musical scene of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, he was basically self-taught until he entered Kullak´s Neue Akademie der Tonkunst in Berlin in 1865, where he also taught. He was forced to interrupt his career due to the military service and, subsequently, he concertized in Europe, USA and Canada, crossing the Atlantic over 26 times by 1914. He founded in Berlin the Scharwenka Conservatory, for a time merged with Klindworth´s school, and lived for a few years in New York where he also opened a branch of his conservatory. He contributed to the foundation of the Music Teachers´ Federation in 1900 and the Federation of German Performing Artists in 1912. His compositions include his popular Piano Concerto in B flat minor and the Polish dance op. 3 no. 1 as well as two sonatas and technical studies such as the Methodik des Klavierspiels, published in 1907 in Leipzig. He made a few acoustical recordings for Columbia and piano rolls.
[See the Xaver Scharwenka Tradition]
American (March 6, 1944)
Barry Snyder studied with Vladimir Sokoloff and Cécile Genhart. He was a member of the Eastman and Meadowmount trios. Snyder was awarded the Diapason D´or for his recordings of the complete cello and piano works by Fauré with Steven Doane. He taught at Georgia State University and Eastman School.
American (New York, February 21, 1913 — Philadelphia, October 27, 1997)
Vladimir Sokoloff was a pianist and teacher. He studied at the Curtis Institute with Abram Chasins, Harry Kaufman and Louis Belly. In 1936, he began teaching at the Institute. Sokoloff was pianist of the Philadelphia Orchestra between 1938 and 1950. He was a renowned accompanist and performed with numerous musicians including Zimbalist, Laredo, Primrose, Piatigorsky, Baker and Tabuteau. He married pianist Eleanor Blum.
Austrian-American (Vienna, February 11, 1930 — Freeport, Bahamas, December 24, 1979)
Born in Austria, her Jewish family fled to the United States in 1938. She devoted much of her time to new composers, and gave world premieres of concertos by Corigliano, Tauriello and Ginastera. She was also immersed in mysticism and in the music of Alexander Scriabin, whose music she performed in concerts with lighting effects attempting to recreate Scriabin´s vision. She died at 49 while vacationing in Bahamas.
Russian (St. Petersburg, July 9, 1852 — Philadelphia, March 31, 1924)
Court pianist in Mecklenburg, he concertized in Europe, Russia, Egypt, Asia Minor and in the United States. He was director of the College of Music at the Atlanta Female Academy and organized a Wagner Festival in Atlanta in 1888. He edited music for Schirmer and published articles on Musical Quarterly. He premiered Xaver Scharwenka´s Second Piano Concerto in the USA.
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)
Carl Tausig was a pianist. He was 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. Tausig 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]
Turina Pérez, Joaquín
Spanish (Seville, December 9, 1882 — Madrid, January 14, 1949)
Joaquín Turina was a composer. His father was a painter of Italian ancestry. He studied with Enrique Rodríguez, José Tragó and with Moritz Moszkowski in Paris. In the French city, he performed with the Parent Quartet. He was a friend of Manuel de Falla who influenced him musically. He taught composition at the Madrid Conservatory from 1930 and was choirmaster at the Teatro Real. In 1941, Turina was appointed Comisario General de la Música. His extensive piano output includes Sonata romántica, Rincones sevillanos, Mujeres españolas and Danzas fantásticas.
Japanese (Atami, near Tokyo, December 20, 1948)
Mitsuko Uchida is a pianist. She moved to Vienna at the age of 12. She studied with Richard Hauser, Wilhelm Kempff and Stefan Askenase. She was awarded at the Leeds International Piano Competition, Beethoven Competition and Chopin Competition. She is a major performer of the Classical composers and has offered complete cycles of the Mozart sonatas and concerti. In 2009, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She records exclusively for Decca.
Vianna da Motta, José
Portuguese (Santo Tomé, April 22, 1868 — Lisbon, June 1, 1948)
José Vianna da Motta was a pianist, teacher and composer. Regarded as the father of the piano in Portugal, he trained many generations of accomplished pianists. He went on extensive concert tours in Europe, United States and South America, sometimes performing four works with orchestra on the same program. His music editions include works of Bach and Liszt, in collaboration with Busoni, with whom he performed on two-piano recitals. His performance in 1927 of the complete Beethoven sonatas was a landmark in Portugal´s music history. Among his piano compositions are the Ballada op. 16, a piano concerto and a transcription for piano solo of Alkan´s Treize Prières for pedal piano. He also made a few recordings. Vianna da Motta succeeded Bernhard Stavenhagen as professor at the Geneva Conservatory.
[See the Vianna da Motta Tradition]
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]
Norwegian (Christiania, now Oslo, October 8, 1837 — Christiania, May 3, 1931)
Otto Winter-Hjelm was a composer and writer of musicological subjects. He opened the first Norwegian school music in 1867 along with Edvard Grieg. For a few years, he was director of the Philharmonic Society. Among his works, there are two symphonies and a few piano pieces.
© 2022, by Daniel Pereira