The Theodor Leschetizky Tradition
Piano Traditions Through Their Genealogy Trees
© 2021, by Daniel Pereira
Doctor of Musical Arts | www.daniel-pereira.com
Alkan [Morhange], Charles-Valentin
French (Paris, November 30, 1813 — Paris, March 29, 1888)
One of the most fascinating piano virtuosos and also a neglected composer, he was born into a Jewish family and all his siblings became musicians using the name Alkan, rather than their proper surname Morhange, including Napoléon Alkan who taught solfège at the Paris Conservatory. There, Charles-Valentin obtained the Premier Prix of solfège at the age of seven and, subsequently, also for piano, harmony and organ. His op. 1 was published when he was only 14. He was a close friend and admirer of Chopin and George Sand, although he became known for his misanthropy and introversion. He usually performed the works of other composers rather than his own compositions. For several times, he withdrew from public performance and, as a result, his biography contains periods of obscurity. Among is extensive piano output we find the Symphonie op. 39, Grande sonata op. 33, the variations Le festin d´Esope, 25 Préludes op. 31, Grande sonate: Les quatre âges op. 33, and the 12 études op. 35 and op. 39, as well as two chamber piano concertos. He also published transcriptions of Bach, Handel and Marcello and some fascinating works for the pédalier, or the pedal piano. It is generally accepted that his illegitimate son was the pianist Elie-Miriam Delaborde.
Swiss (Lausanne, February 25, 1959)
Jean-François Antonioli is a pianist, conductor and pedagogue. He studied piano at the Lausanne and Paris conservatories. His teachers included Pierre Sancan, Bruno Seidlhofer and Carlo Zecchi. Antonioli has made numerous recordings including Debussy´s 24 Preludes and works by Busoni, Raff and Honegger. He teaches at the Lausanne Conservatory.
Argentine-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.
Chilean-American (Chillán, February 6, 1903 — Mürzzuschlag, Austria, June 9, 1991)
Recognized as one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century, Arrau lost his father when he was only one year old. A child prodigy, he gave his first piano recital at the age of five in Santiago de Chile. With the financial support of the Chilean government, he moved to Berlin to study at the Stern Conservatory, where he also taught. In 1927 he won the Grand Prix International des Pianists of Geneva, and in 1935 he accomplished a phenomenal feat when he performed J.S. Bach´s entire output for keyboard in 12 recitals in Berlin. After living a year in Chile and founding a music school there in 1940, Arrau and his family settled in New York. He left a substantial discography including complete cycles of works.
[See the Claudio Arrau Tradition]
Barentzen, Aline von
French-American (Somerville, United States, July 17, 1897 — Paris, October 30, 1981)
A precocious child, she gave he first recital at the age of four, performed Beethoven´s First Piano Concerto at seven and entered the Paris Conservatory at nine. She produced some records for Her Master´s Voice. She premiered Villa-Lobos´ Chôros no. 8, for two pianos, with Spanish pianist Tomás Terán under the composer´s baton in 1927.
Ukrainian-American (Odessa, September 1, 1896 — New York, April 2, 1951)
Simon Barere was a pianist. He received his first music lessons from his elder brothers. Barere lost his father at the age of 11 and contributed to support his family by playing in silent films, night-clubs and restaurants. He studied at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory with Anna Essipova and Felix Blumenfeld. He taught at the Kiev Conservatory and concertized extensively. He lived in Riga, Berlin, Sweden and in 1936 he settled in the United States. Barere died after he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage while performing Grieg´s Piano Concerto at Carnegie Hall in New York. He made numerous recordings for HMV.
Russian (Tbilisi, November 1, 1931 — Madrid, March 7, 2021)
Dmitry Bashkirov was a pianist. He studied with Anastasia Virsaladze at the Tbilisi Conservatory and with Alexander Goldenweiser at the Moscow Conservatory, where he was appointed professor in 1957. He was awarded at the 1955 Long-Thibaud Competition. Bashkirov founded a trio with Igor Bezrodny and Mikhail Komnitzer. In 1991, he was appointed professor at the Queen Sofia Music School in Madrid. Among his students were Dmitri Alexeev, Arcadi Volodos, Nikolai Demidenko, Boris Bloch and Bashkirov´s own daughter Elena Bashkirova. He made numerous recordings for Melodiya, Harmonia Mundi and Erato.
[See the Dmitry Bashkirov Tradition]
Swiss (Altstätten, July 21, 1903 — Locarno, October 19, 1976)
Recognized for his recording of the complete Beethoven sonatas, he played chamber music with Fournier, Végh and Casals, with whom he recorded the Bach sonatas. He was head of the piano department at the Musikakademie in Basel.
[See the Paul Baumgartner Tradition]
Beethoven, Ludwig van
German (Bonn, baptized December 17, 1770 — Vienna, March 26, 1827)
One of the most influential, admired and popular figures in music history, Beethoven was a great pianist and improviser, and a visionary composer who transcended the limits of the piano, particularly after the illness, which isolated him —deafness— worsened. He described the state of his despairing soul in the famous Heiligenstadt Testament of 1802, addressed to his brothers Johann and Carl. He had Belgian ancestry and came from three generations of musicians who worked for the Electorate of Cologne. Beethoven settled in Vienna in 1792, where he received lessons from Haydn and likely from Mozart and became a highly respected composer in the Austrian capital. Beethoven´s piano output is crowned by the 32 piano sonatas, the 5 piano concertos, and the Diabelli variations, all of which are masterpieces of the piano literature.
[See the Ludwig van Beethoven Tradition]
English (Furtwangen, Baden, July 14, 1844 — London, February 21, 1922)
Born in Germany, his family fled to London in 1849, where he found in 1873 the Academy for the Higher Development of Pianoforte Playing, which enjoyed a remarkable success until it closed its doors in 1897. Beringer premiered in England Brahms´s Second Piano Concerto and was appointed professor at the Royal Academy of Music in 1885. He published pedagogical works such as Daily Technical Exercises and Pianoforte Tutor, as well as editions of piano classics.
[See the Oscar Beringer Tradition]
American (Lawrence, Massachusetts, August 25, 1918 — New York, October 14, 1990)
Leonard Bernstein was a pianist, conductor, composer and educator. His parents were Russian Jewish immigrants. He studied with Helen Coates and Heinrich Gebhard. Subsequently, he entered Harvard University to major in music. Finally, he studied piano with Isabelle Vengerova and conducting with Fritz Reiner at the Curtis Institute. He was the conductor of the Israel Philharmonic and also the New York Philharmonic and broadcast on TV with the latter a series of educational events in Young People´s Concerts. His Norton Lectures series at Harvard University, The Unanswered Question, were highly praised. Bernstein composed a Piano Sonata, Music for Two Pianos, Anniversaries and Touches, among many other works.
Bloomfield Zeisler [née Blumenfeld], Fannie
Austrian-American (Bielitz, Austria, July 16, 1863 — Chicago, August 20, 1927)
Fannie Bloomfield was a pianist and teacher. She received her first piano lessons from her brother. Her family moved to the United States in 1867, where she studied with Bernhard Ziehn and Carl Wolfsohn. Subsequently, Bloomfield studied at the Vienna Conservatory with Anna Essipova and with Leschetizky. She concertized extensively in Europe and North America. She taught at the Bush Temple of Music in Chicago and also privately. In 1885, she married the lawyer Sigmund Zeisler. Bloomfield made a number of Ampico and Welte-Mignon piano roll recordings.
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.
Ukrainian-American (Kiev, February 16, 1896 — New York, April 25, 1976)
Alexander Brailowsky was a pianist. He was a pupil of Vladimir Puchalsky at the Kiev Conservatory and of Theodor Leschetizky in Vienna. He also studied with Ferruccio Busoni in Switzerland. Brailowsky became widely recognized as a unique Chopin player and frequently offered all the Polish composer´s works in series of concerts.
Belgian (Aix-la-Chapelle, June 24, 1840 — Saint Petersburg, May 17, 1884)
Louis Brassin was a pianist and composer. He was a musically precocious child and performed concerts since very young. He studied at the Leipzig Conservatory with Ignaz Moscheles. In 1866, he started teaching at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin and, from 1869 and 1878, he taught at the Brussels Conservatory. In 1878, he moved to Saint Petersburg where he succeeded Theodor Leschetizky at the Conservatory. Among his students were Safonov, Sapellnikov and Rummel. Brassin composed two piano concertos, Polonaise op. 18, Au clair de la lune and piano transcriptions, including Magic Fire Music from Wagner´s Die Walküre. He published the École modern du piano.
German (Frankfurt, December 19, 1882 — Cologne, March 19, 1954)
Walter Braunfels was a composer. His mother was a pianist who was in close terms with Franz Liszt and Clara Schumann. He received his first piano instruction from James Kwast at the Hoch Conservatory and later studied with Leschetizky in Vienna. He also studied law and economics in Munich. Braunfels composed a Piano concerto in A, Bagatelles op. 5, Studies op. 10 and Toccata op. 43 among other works.
Austrian (Wiesenberg, Moravia, now the Czech Republic, January 5, 1931)
Of German, Austrian, Italian and Slav ancestry, Brendel spent most of his childhood traveling with his family in Austria and Yugoslavia. He admits he was not a child prodigy, nor he has an extraordinary ability for sight-reading or memorizing. However, his discography is one of the largest ever made and he was the first pianist ever to record Beethoven´s complete piano works in the 1960s for Vox. Particularly admired are his interpretations of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. He often performed with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Brendel is also active as an essayist, poet and painter.
Italian (Empoli, Tuscany, April 1, 1866 — Berlin, July 27, 1924)
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 him his first piano instruction focused on Bach, was a virtuoso clarinet player, and his Austrian-born mother was a pianist. Although he 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 piano literature since 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. He 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]
French (Mareuil-sur-Ay, January 27, 1948)
Premier Prix at the Paris Conservatory and winner of the Guilde Française des Artistes Solistes and the Georges Cziffra Competition, his discography includes the complete works of Ravel, the major works of Fauré and the complete concertos of Rachmaninov, Saint-Saëns and Ravel. He is also an active chamber musician, collaborating frequently with violinist Augustin Dumay, cellist Frédéric Lodéon and pianist Michel Béroff.
Curzon, Sir Clifford
English (London, May 18, 1907 — London, September 1, 1982)
Married to the harpsichordist Lucille Wallace, he won the Macfarren Gold Medal while at the Royal Academy of Music. He combined concertizing with periods of studying with no public appearances. He premiered works such as the Rawsthorne´s Second Piano Concerto and the Berkeley Sonata, dedicated to him. Although he played a broad repertoire, he was admired for his interpretation of the Classical composers. He was made CBE in 1958.
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]
Austrian (Regensburg, September 30, 1825 — Vienna, June 6, 1896)
Joseph Dachs was a pianist and teacher. He studied with Sechter, Halm and Czerny, whose compositions he often premiered. He taught at the Vienna Conservatory since 1950. Dachs performed under Liszt´s baton at the Mozart Centenary Festival in Vienna in 1856.
American (Electra, Texas, February 4, 1932 — Miami, Florida, March 12, 2018)
Ivan Davis was a pianist. He was a student of Silvio Scionti and, after obtaining a Fulbright Award, he went to Rome to study with Carlo Zecchi. He also studied with Vladimir Horowitz in New York. Davis was awarded numerous prizes at several international competitions including the Busoni and the Liszt Prize in New York. In 1965, he was appointed professor of piano at the University of Miami at Coral Gables. Davis made many recordings for Audiofon, New World, CBS and BMG, among others.
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 (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.
Swiss (Basle, June 1, 1923 — Chernex, Switzerland, September 2, 2006)
Karl Engel was a pianist. He was a student of Paul Baumgartner at the Basle Conservatory and of Alfred Cortot at the École Normale de Musique in Paris. He was awarded prizes at the Queen Elisabeth and Ferruccio Busoni competitions. Engel specialized in the piano repertoire of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann, whose complete works he recorded. He performed frequently with Casals, Prey and Fischer-Dieskau. Engel taught at the Hanover Hochschule and at the Berne Conservatory.
Polish (Krakau, 1879 — New York, 1945)
Severin Eisenberger was a pianist and teacher. He studied with Heinrich Ehrlich and Theodor Leschetizky. He taught at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. He frequently performed Beethoven´s 32 sonatas. Pearl and Arbiter record labels released a number of his recordings. His daughter Agnes Eisenberger edited The Brahms Notebooks.
Essipova, Anna Nikolayevna
Russian (Saint Petersburg, February 12, 1851 – Saint Petersburg, August 18, 1914)
Anna Essipova was a pianist and teacher. She studied at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory with Leschetizky, whom she married in 1880. In 1885, she was appointed pianist to the Russian court. She concertized with great success and taught at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. Prokofiev, Yudina and Borovsky were among her pupils. Essipova made a number of piano rolls recordings in the early 1900s.
[See the Anna Essipova Tradition]
Brazilian (Boa Esperança, October 8, 1944 — Rio de Janeiro, November 1, 2021)
Nelson Freire was a pianist. He firstly studied piano with Nise Obino and Lucia Branco, a pupil of Arthur de Greef, and later with Bruno Seidlhofer in Vienna. He won the International Competition in Rio de Janeiro, the Vianna da Motta Prize in Lisbon and the Dinu Lipatti Medal in London. He has frequently appeared on two-piano recitals with Martha Argerich. Freire has made numerous records for Sony Classical, Teldec, Philipps and Decca.
Polish (Podgórze, near Kraków, February 13, 1882 — Sydney, January 26, 1948)
Ignacy Friedman was a pianist and composer. He studied with Flora Grzywińska and Theodor Leschetizky, for whom he acted as an assistant. He also attended Busoni´s masterclases. Friedman performed over 2800 concerts around the world during a span of four decades. He lived in Berlin, Copenhagen, Siusi (Italy) and, in 1940, established his residence in Sydney. Ignace Tiegerman, Victor Schiøler, Julius Chaloff and Bruce Hungerford were among his eminent pupils. As a composer, he wrote over 100 works including transcriptions and exercises. He also edited the complete piano works of Chopin.
[See the Ignacy Friedman Tradition]
Russian-American (Saint Petersburg, February 7, 1878 — Detroit, September 14, 1936)
Ossip Grabrilowitsch was a pianist, conductor and composer of Russian descent. His teachers included Anton Rubinstein at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory and Theodor Leschetizky in Vienna. He conducted the Munich Konzertverein for a few years and, in 1914, he settled in the United States, where he became conductor of the Detroit Symphony. He married Mark Twain´s daughter, the contralto Clara Clemens, with whom he often performed.
German-American (Sobernheim, July 25, 1878 — North Arlington, New Jersey, May 5, 1963)
Heinrich Gebhard was a pianist and composer. He studied with Theodor Leschetizky. He gave the premiere in the USA of Strauss´ Burleske. Leonard Bernstein was among his pupils. Gebhard composed a Fantasy and a Divertissement, for piano and orchestra and piano and chamber orchestra, respectively, Waltzes op. 2 and Giant of the Mountains. He published The Art of Pedaling in 1963.
American (New York, June 1, 1943)
Richard Goode is a pianist. He studied with Nadia Reisenberg at Mannes College and with Rudolf Serkin at the Curtis Institute. He won first prize at the Clara Haskil competition. Goode has made records with Jacqueline du Pré, Richard Stolzman and Dawn Upshaw, besides numerous solo records with the works of Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Brahms. He was a founder member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and, in 1980, he received the Avery Fisher Prize.
English (Watford, June 18, 1872 — London, April 14, 1958)
Married to the composer Arthur Hinton, whose works including a piano concerto she regularly performed, she was one of the greatest female pianists of her generation. Her American debut with the Boston Symphony was a tremendous success. She abandoned the concert stage for a few years. Upon her return, she showed no flaws in her technique or artistry. Her programs usually included several large-scale works. Unfortunately, she made no commercial recordings.
American (New York, October 14, 1928)
Gary Graffman is a pianist and teacher. He was born into a Russian-Jewish family and his father was the violinist Vladimir Graffman. He studied at the Curtis Institute with Isabelle Vengerova and later with Horowitz and Serkin. After winning the Rachmaninov Prize, Graffman made his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy. He has frequently appeared with the Guarnieri and Juilliard string quartets. In 1979, he started developing problems with his right hand which likely became focal dystonia, but this illness did not prevent him from performing works for the left hand alone. He premiered such type of pieces written specifically for him such as Ned Rorem´s Piano Concerto no. 4, William Bolcom´s Gaea, for two pianos left hand (with Leon Fleisher) and Daron Hagen´s Seven Last Words. Graffman taught at the Curtis Institute and the Manhattan School. Lang Lang and Yuja Wang are among his students. He published his memoirs in a book titled I Really Should be Practicing in 1981.
Austrian (Vienna, May 16, 1930 — Attersee, January 27, 2000)
Friedrich Gulda was a pianist and composer. He studied at the Grossman Conservatory, with Pazofksy, and with Bruno Seidlhofer at the Vienna Music Academy. In 1962, after a successful career playing mostly Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, Gulda felt unhappy about his touring and performing activities and started to take a profound interest in jazz. He founded a jazz combo and a big band called Eurojazz Orchestra. In 1966, he established the Internationales Musikforum at Ossiach, Carinthia. Gulda made a number of records including the complete Beethoven piano sonatas and cello sonatas, with Pierre Fournier and Bach ´s Well-Tempered Clavier. Martha Argerich was among his students.
French (Marseilles, May 16, 1895 — Paris, January 11, 1980)
Youra Guller was a pianist of Russian and Romanian ancestry. She studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Isidor Philipp and with Theodor Leschetizky. She also studied the violin, ballet and Spanish dancing. Between the great wars, Guller disappeared from the concert stage due to a weakening health, depression and drug addiction. She was on an occasion offered an acting part originally intended for Greta Garbo.
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.
Russian (Boguchar, June 12, 1879 — Cambridge, August 26, 1960)
Mark Hambourg was a pianist and composer. His first teacher was his father, Michael Hambourg. Subsequently, he studied with Leschetizky. He published his memoirs in two books, From Piano to Forte and The Eighth Octave, and How to Play the Piano. Hambourg composed Variations on a theme by Paganini, among other works.
Russian (Yaroslav, July 24, 1855 — Toronto, June 18, 1916)
Michael Hambourg was a pianist and teacher. He was a pupil of both Nikolay Rubinstein and Sergei Taneyev at the Saint Petersburg and Moscow conservatories. He taught at the latter from 1880 to 1890, when his family emigrated to London, where he taught at the GSM. In 1910, he emigrated to Canada where he founded the Hambourg Conservatory in Toronto. Among his pupils was Gerald Moore. His son Mark was a pianist and composer.
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]
American (Edinburgh, Scotland, May 20, 1856 — Cambridge, Massachusetts, November 19, 1945)
Helen Hopekirk was a pianist, composer and teacher of Scottish birth. She firstly studied in Edinburgh and then at the Leipzig Conservatory with Carl Reinecke and Louis Maas, and with Leschetizky in Vienna. She taught at the New England Conservatory but continued to spend periods of time in Europe. Hopekirk composed a piano concerto and the Concertstück for piano and orchestra, Suite and A Norland Eve.
Ukrainian-American (Kiev, October 1, 1903 — New York, November 5, 1989)
Vladimir Horowitz was a pianist. He received his first music lessons from his mother. At the age of nine, he entered the Kiev Conservatory to study with Vladimir Puchalsky, Sergei Tarnowsky and Felix Blumenfeld. Horowitz left the USSR in 1925 and concertized extensively. He abandoned the concert stage during four different periods (the longest was between 1953 and 1965). Between 1975 and 1985, he was severely medicated which seriously affected his performance, but he was able to recuperate and give his best at the piano during the last years of his life. He married Arturo Toscanini´s daughter, Wanda, in 1933. Horowitz died suddenly at home from a heart attack.
Polish-American (Lemberg, now Lviv, June 23, 1892 — Philadelphia, May 22, 1993)
Mieczyslaw Horszowski was a pianist. His mother, a pupil of Mikuli, was his first teacher. He later studied with Leschetizky and Melcer-Szczawiński. At the outbreak of World War I, he moved to the USA. He was appointed professor at the Curtis Institute in the early 1940s and continued to teach there until he died at the age of 100. For half a century, he performed in duo with cellist Pau Casals. Horszowski first married at the age of 89 and kept performing almost until the very end of his life. He appeared at Carnegie Hall shortly before he turned 98 years old.
American (Washington DC, August 15, 1884 — New York, July 17, 1965)
Married to the pianist Jewel Bethany Hughes, with whom he played two-piano concerts, he was Leschetizky´s assistant for three years. He served as editor-in-chief of piano music for Schirmer
American (McKeesport, Pennsylvania, March 24, 1928)
Byron Janis is a pianist. He studied with Josef and Rosina Lhévinne, with Adele Marcus and also with Vladimir Horowitz for three years. In 1973, he started developing arthritis in his hands and wrists. In 1967, he discovered several autograph manuscripts of two Chopin waltzes in a castle in Yvelines, France. Subsequently, he found the same two waltzes in different versions at the Yale University library in 1973. These episodes are described in the film Frédéric Chopin: a Voyage with Byron Janis. The music is published in The Most Dramatic Musical Discovery of the Age, Envolve Books, 1978. Janis composed a number of popular songs and ballades and also music for film and television. He made a number of recordings for RCA Victor and Mercury Records. In 1966, he married his second wife who is Gary Cooper´s daughter, Maria Cooper, with whom he wrote his autobiography Chopin and Beyond: My Extraordinary Life in Music and the Paranormal, released in 2010.
Polish (Warsaw, May 31, 1911 — July 3, 1959)
Maryla Jonas was a pianist. She studied with Paderewski. During the invasion of Poland, Jonas was detained. Upon her release, she walked hundreds of miles to Berlin in order to obtain documents to travel to Brazil. This trip on foot under inhumane circumstances deeply affecter her health. She lived in Brazil for a time and finally settled in the United States, where she played at Carnegie Hall in 1946. She died at the age of 48.
French (Marseilles, May 5, 1951)
Winner of the Premier Prix at the Paris Conservatory, Prix Albert Roussel and Cziffra Competition, he received his first musical instruction in Cameroon. He was the first pianist who recorded the complete Liszt transcriptions of the Beethoven symphonies as well as Mahler´s Das Lied von der Erde in its original piano and voice version. He also recorded a substantial number of Chopin´s works.
Polish (Lódz, September 16, 1918 — Warsaw, September 26, 1968)
Wladyslaw Kedra was a pianist. He studied at the Lódz Conservatory and in Paris. At the 3rd Chopin International Competition, he attracted Magda Tagliaferro´s attention. In 1957, he settled in Vienna. Kedra made numerous recordings. He died from cancer at the age of 50.
Russian (Saint Petersburg, March 13, 1884 — Tokyo, October 30, 1953)
Leonid Kreutzer was a pianist and teacher. He studied with Anna Essipova at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. He taught at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin where his students included Karl-Ulrich Schnabel and Wladyslaw Szpilman. In 1935, he settled in Japan where he taught and concertized. Kreutzer published Das normale Klavierpedal and edited works by Chopin and Liszt.
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]
British (1882 — London, May 19, 1955)
Mabel Lander was a pianist and teacher. She studied at the Berlin Hochschule, in Vienna with Theodor Leschetizky and with Benno Moiseiwitsch. Subsequently, she settled in Dublin and performed publicly until she contracted a rheumatic illness in her hands. She taught several members of the British Royal Family during the 1930s and 1940s and also Malcolm Sargent, Alan Bush and Geraldine Peppin.
American (Hull, England, April 13, 1886 — Los Angeles, February 26, 1970)
Ethel Leginska was a pianist, composer and conductor. She studied at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt and also with Leschetizky in Vienna. In 1913, she settled in the United States, where she became famous for performing all-Chopin recitals with no intermission. In 1926, she abandoned the concert stage and focused her career on composing and conducting, becoming one of the first female conductors. Leginska composed a Fantasy for piano and orchestra and piano pieces, among other works.
Polish (Łańcut, Galicia, June 22, 1830 — Dresden, November 14, 1915)
Theodor Leschetizky was a pianist, teacher and composer. His father gave him his first music lessons. His debut, performing a Czerny concertino, was conducted by W.A. Mozart´s son, Franz Xaver. In Vienna, Leschetizky studied with Carl Czerny. In 1852, he moved to Saint Petersburg, where he taught and headed the piano department at the Conservatory from 1862 and stayed in the city for the next 26 years. His second wife was his student Anna Essipova, whom he divorced in 1892. Subsequently, he married two other students consecutively. Another student of his, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, contributed to expanding Leschetizky´s fame as a teacher, particularly in the United States. An estimate of 1,200 pianists studied with him, exerting a deep influence on pianism around the world, with students who were still performing as late as 1991. He was a crucial figure in the revival of Schubert´s piano sonatas, especially through his student Arthur Schnabel. Leschetizky composed a one-movement Piano Concerto and virtuoso piano music.
[See the Theodor Leschetizky Tradition]
German (Hanover, August 6, 1866 — New York, February 16, 1943)
Adele Lewing was a pianist and composer. She studied with Johannes Moeller, a pupil of Moscheles, with Carl Reinecke and with Theodor Leschetizky in Vienna. She settled in the United States where she had a significant career appearing at Carnegie Hall and Steinway Hall in New York.
Russian (Orel, near Moscow, December 13, 1874)
Josef Lhévinne was a pianist. He studied with Vassily Safonov at the Moscow Conservatory. After a few tours abroad, he was forced to do the military service in Russia. In 1898, he married pianist Rosina Bessie, later known as Rosina Lhévinne. From 1900 to 1902, he taught in Tbilisi and, from 1902 to 1906, at the Moscow Conservatory. After a period in Berlin, the Lhévinnes settled in New York and, since 1924, both taught at Juilliard. His disciples included Adele Marcus, Sascha Gorodnitzki and Homer Samuels. Lhévinne made several phonograph records and published Basic Principles in Pianoforte Playing.
[See the Josef Lhévinne Tradition]
Polish (Marcelin, near Warsaw, July 25, 1869 — Warsaw, April 18, 1928)
Henryk Melcer-Szczawiński was a pianist, conductor, composer and teacher. He studied with Strobl, Michalowski (probably) and Leschetizky. He also pursued studies in Mathematics at the University of Warsaw. He taught at the Helsinki, Lemberg and Vienna and conservatories. Melcer was also director of the Warsaw Opera and the Warsaw Conservatory. In 1927, he was among the jury of the first Chopin Piano Competition. The young Horszowski was among his students. Melcer composed two piano concertos, Morceau fantastique and Trois pensées musicales, among other works. He died while giving a lecture at the conservatory.
Russian-British (Odessa, February 22, 1890 — London, April 9, 1963)
Benno Moiseiwitsch was a pianist. He studied in Kiev at the Imperial Music Academy with Dmitry Klimov. He concertized extensively in Europe, USA, East Asia, Africa and South America. He taught at the Curtis Institute of Music. Moiseiwitsch married Australian violinist Daisy Kennedy.
English (Watford, July 30, 1899 — Penn, United Kingdom, March 13, 1987)
Gerald Moore was a pianist. He received his first piano lessons from Wallis Bandey. In 1913, his family moved to Canada where he studied with Michael Hambourg and, upon his return to England in 1919, with his son Mark Hambourg. He became a much after-sought accompanist and performed with virtually all the major artists of his time. He published Singer and Accompanist, Am I Too Loud? Memoirs of an Accompanist and The Unashamed Accompanist. Moore made numerous recordings for HMV.
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]
German (Düsseldorf, September 27, 1882 — Tutzing, March 31, 1968)
Elly Ney was a pianist. She studied with Isidor Seiss in Cologne and with Leschetizky and Sauer in Vienna. She taught at the Cologne Conservatory and gave masterclasses at the Mozarteum in Salzburg for three years. Ney married Dutch conductor Willem van Hoogstraten whith whom she recorded the concertos 3, 4 and 5 by Beethoven. She formed a trio with Max Stross and Ludwig Hoelscher. During the Third Reich, Ney was involved in some controversy after she joined the Nazi Party in 1937.
Paderewski, Ignacy Jan
Polish (Kursk, Podolia, November 18, 1860 — New York, June 29, 1941)
Ignacy Jan Paderewski was a pianist, composer and statesman. He was mainly self-taught during his early years and became an extraordinary improviser. Subsequently, he entered the Warsaw Conservatory and graduated in 1878. After a few years striving to make a living, he begun lessons with Leschetizky and shortly after was appointed professor at the Strasbourg Conservatory. Gradually, Paderewski´s pianistic and musical personality became well-known all over Europe and America. By the 1890s, his wealth had increased considerably. Due to his extravagant lifestyle and the numerous concerts, his health rapidly declined and Paderewski commenced to take an active interest in politics, what resulted in his brief appointment as Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. He resumed his performing activities in 1922. Paderewski composed a number of piano pieces including Chants du voyager op. 8, Piano concerto op. 17 and Variations and Fugue op. 23.
Polish (Siedlce, December 15, 1857 — Tworki, near Warsaw, December 24, 1898)
Eugeniusz Pankiewicz was a pianist and composer. He studied in Warsaw with Józef Wieniawski and in Saint Petersburg with Theodor Leschetizky. He taught at the Warsaw Music Institute during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. He became widely recognized for his songs. Pankiewicz wrote a number of piano works including Krakowiak-fantasia, op. 9, Burlesque and Menuet op. 12, and mazurkas, waltzes and improvisations.
American (New York, April 19, 1947)
Murray Perahia is a pianist. He took his first piano lessons with Jeanette Haien. He later studied piano at Mannes College with Artur Balsam and also conducting and composing. At Marlboro, Vermont, he received advice from Rudolf Serkin and performed with Casals and the Budapest Quartet. His thorough education was completed with the legendary Horszowski. He also had a close relationship with Vladimir Horowitz who was a great inspiration. Perahia won the Leeds International competition in 1972. His numerous recordings include works by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin and Schumann.
John Perry is a pianist and teacher. He studied at the Eastman School and with Cecile Genhart and Frank Mannheimer. After winning a Fulbright Scholarship, he went to Europe and became a pupil of Wladylslav Kedra and Carlo Zecchi. He was awarded at the Busoni, Viotti and Long competitions. He has served as faculty at the Glenn Gould School in Toronto, California State University at Northridge, USC Thornton School of Music, Lake Como International Academy, Banff Center and many others. Perry made numerous records for Telefunken, Musical Heritage Society, CBC, ACA and Fox.
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]
German (Hubertusburg, Saxony, November 28, 1810 — Grimma, Saxony, March 3, 1874)
He was a famous pedagogue and, after 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]
American (Los Angeles, California, January 23, 1935)
Daniel Pollack is a pianist. He made his debut with the New York Philharmonic at the age of nine playing Chopin´s Concerto no. 1. He studied with Rosina Lhévinne at the Juilliard School and also with Ethel Leginska and Lillian Steuber. Subsequently, he pursued further studies in Vienna with Bruno Seidlhofer and with Guido Agosti in Siena. He also attended the masterclasses of Kempff and Michelangeli. Pollack was awarded at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958. He was the first American to record for the Russian label Melodiya. Pollock taught at the Thornton School of Music in California and was visiting professor at Juilliard and Yale schools of music.
Ukrainian-British (Kiev or Odessa, October 11, 1891 — London, May 28, 959)
Leo Pouishnov was a pianist and composer. He studied at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory with Anna Essipova. He frequently performed with violinist Leopold Auer. In 1920, he moved to London where he settled for the rest of his life. Pouishnov concertized throughout the world and made numerous recordings, particularly of the music of Chopin and Liszt. His recording of Schubert´s Sonata in G major D 894 was amongst the earliest of the work in 1928.
Russian (Sontsovka, Donetsk region, now Ukraine, April 27, 1891 — Moscow, March 5, 1953)
Sergei Prokofiev was a pianist, conductor and composer. His mother studied the piano for a period of time at the Moscow Conservatory. He studied with pianist and composer Reinhold Glière. Subsequently, he studied at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory with Alexander Winkler and with Anna Essipova. Prokofiev lived in the United States and Paris before returning to Russia in 1936. He married Spanish singer Carolina Codina in 1933, and poet and librettist Mira Mendelson in 1948. Prokofiev composed 5 piano concertos, 9 sonatas, Sarcasms, Visions fugitives and Pensées, among many other works.
Russian (Minsk, March 21, 1848 — February 23, 1933)
Vladimir Puchalsky was a pianist, teacher and composer. He studied at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. In 1876, he was appointed director of the Russian Music Society school in Kiev, where he also taught piano at the conservatory and at the Lysenko Music and Drama Institute. Vladimir Horowitz and Alexander Brailowsky were among his students. Puchalski composed a Piano concerto among other works.
American (Dayton, Kentucky, August 2, 1888 — Pasadena, California, March 24, 1975)
Oscar Rasbach was a piano teacher and composer. He studied with José Anderson and Theodor Leschetizky. He taught piano privately in Los Angeles and became widely recognized for his over 100 songs.
Dutch (Leipzig, May 9, 1855 — Bilthoven, near Utrecht, September 13, 1932)
Julius Röntgen was a pianist, conductor and composer. He studied piano with Louis Plaidy and Carl Reinecke. He taught in Amsterdam and became director of the conservatory in 1912. He appeared on stage with Pau Casals. Grieg dedicated to him the Lyric Pieces op. 54. Röntgen composed 7 piano concertos and a number of chamber music, orchestral and vocal pieces. He met Liszt in Weimar in 1870.
Polish-American (Łódź, January 28, 1887 — Geneva, December 20, 1982)
An extraordinary talent since an early age and endowed with a phenomenal capacity for sight-reading, his early music instruction was undertaken by Joseph Joachim. At the age of 13, he made his debut in Berlin playing a Mozart concerto, Saint-Saëns Second Concerto and some other solo pieces. He loved Spain and the Spanish music, spending long periods in Málaga and performing the music of Granados, Albéniz and Falla. After he married ballerina Aniela Mlynarski in 1932, he secluded himself in order to practice piano seriously. He was famous for his extrovert character and his energy and was able to perform two or three piano concertos in one evening, well into his 70s and 80s. He played an enormous repertoire and produced over 200 recordings, with his interpretations of Chopin at the heart of his fame. The Artur Rubinstein International Competition was founded in Israel in 1974 and he contributed to the improvement and development of music education there. He abandoned the concert stage in 1976 and published his autobiography in two volumes, My Young Years and My Many Years. At the age of 90, Rubinstein left his wife for concert manager Annabelle Whitestone, who was 33 years old at the time. One of his sons was actor John Rubinstein, father of the also actor Michael Weston. In 1969, the documentary film Artur Rubinstein: The Love of Life, won an Oscar.
[See the Artur 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]
Safonov, Vasily Ilyich
Russian (Cossack settlement, near Itsyursk, Caucasus, February 6, 1852 — Kislovodsk, Caucasus, February 27, 1918)
Vasily Safonov was a pianist, teacher, conductor and composer. His father was a Cossack general. In 1862, the family moved to Saint Petersburg, where Safonov studied the piano with Theodore Leschetizky and Louis Brassin. He graduated from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory with gold medal and taught there until 1885, when he was appointed professor at the Moscow Conservatory and, later, its director in 1889. Safonov spent some time in United States, where he conducted orchestras such as the LSO and New York Philharmonic and was appointed director of the National Conservatory in New York. Scriabin, Medtner and the Lhévinnes were among his pupils. Safonov wrote a pedagogical book, New Formula for the Piano Teacher and the Piano Student.
[See the Vasily Safonov Tradition]
Sanromá, Jesús María
Puerto Rican (Carolina, November 7, 1902 — San Juan, October 12, 1984)
Jesús María Sanromá was a pianist. He received his first piano lessons from Dolores Plaza. He also studied at the New England Conservatory and later with Antoinette Szumowska, Alfred Cortot and Artur Schnabel. He was the pianist for the Boston Symphony. Sanromá offered the world premiere of concertos by Burlingame, Dukelsky and Martinu, and first performances in America of Honegger´s Concertino, Toch´s Concerto, Stravinsky´s Capriccio, Ravel´s Concerto in G and Hindemith´s Third Piano Sonata and the Piano Concerto. Sanromá taught at the New England Conservatory and at the Puerto Rico Conservatory since 1959.
American (Belvidere, July 26, 1876 — New York, December 8, 1939)
Ernest Schelling was a pianist, conductor and composer. He studied with Mathias at the Paris Conservatoire and later with Moritz Moszkowski, Dionys Pruckner, Theodor Leschetizky, Hans Huber, Karl-Heinrich Barth and Paderewski. Schelling concertized widely in Europe and South America. In 1919, he was involved in a car accident in which he injured his hands. He frequently conducted the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Young People´s Concerts in New York. He composed Theme and variations and Six compositions among other pieces.
Austrian (Pressburg, now Bratislava, December 22, 1874 — Perchtoldsdorf, near Vienna, February 11, 1939)
Franz Schmidt was a pianist, cellist, composer and conductor. He studied with Ludwig Berger and Theodor Leschetizky. He taught cello, piano, composition and counterpoint at the Vienna Conservatory. Schmidt composed a Piano concerto for the left hand, 2 sonatas and a Toccata, among other works.
Austrian-American (Lipnik, April 17, 1882 — Axenstein, Switzerland, August 15, 1951)
Artur Schnabel was a pianist, composer and teacher. He studied with Theodor Leschetizky in Vienna. He frequently performed with Casals, Feuermann, Fournier, Hindemith, Huberman, Szigeti and Primrose. He taught at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin and at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Clifford Curzon and Claude Frank were among his pupils. Schnabel made the first recording ever of the complete Beethoven sonatas for HMV and also recorded the 5 concertos and the Diabelli Variations. Schnabel composed a number of works including a piano concerto and published several books including My Life and Music and Reflections on Music and edited the Beethoven´s sonatas and the Diabelli Variations. In 1905, he married contralto Therese Behr.
[See the Artur Schnabel Tradition]
Schnabel, Karl Ulrich Schnabel
Austrian (Berlin, August 6, 1909 — Danbury, CT, United States, August 27, 2001)
Karl Ulrich Schnabel was a pianist. His father was pianist Artur Schnabel and his mother the soprano Therese Behr. He studied with Leonid Kreutzer. He married American pianist Helen Fogel with whom he played piano duets. Karl Ulrich Schnabel numerous of recordings including Schubert duets with his father. He published Modern Technique of the Pedal in 1950. He taught at the Manhattan School of Music from 1985 to 2000. His students include Leon Fleisher, Claude Frank and Murray Perahia.
[See the Karl Ulrich Schnabel Tradition]
Austrian-Australian (Vienna, September 22, 1892 — Woolloongabba, Brisbane, Australia, November 30, 1953)
One of Leschetizky´s youngest students, his career was interrupted by World War I during which he entertained Austrian soldiers with his piano playing. His first wife was cellist Marie Hahn and his second was the Dutch pianist Diny Adriana Soetermeer, with whom he performed as a piano duo. They lived and taught in Jakarta and New Zealand. His compositions include film music and teaching pieces such as Seven Contrasts and Old Holland.
Austrian (Vienna, September 5, 1982 — Vienna, February 19, 1982)
Bruno Seidlhofer was a pianist, organist and teacher. He studied with Franz Schmidt. He taught at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna and also in Cologne. His pupils included Nelson Freire and Martha Argerich, Rudolf Buchbinder and Friedrich Gulda.
Skryabina, Lyubov Petrovna [née Shchetinina]
Russian (Saint Petersburg, 1849 — Trento, 1873)
Lyubov Skryabina was a pianist and the mother of Alexander Scriabin. She studied with Theodor Leschetizky in Saint Petersburg. When Scriabin was only a year old, she died from tuberculosis at the age of 23.
Amsterdam, March 24, 1867 — Pasadena, California, November 26, 1950
Martin Sieveking was a pianist, composer, teacher and inventor. He was born into a musical family. He studied at the Leipzig Conservatory with Julius Röntgen and in Vienna with Theodor Leschetizky. Sieveking lived in Europe and in several cities in the United States. He had an active performing career and was regarded as an equal to Paderewski, Rosenthal and Joseffy. He appeared on stage with David Popper and Adelina Patti. As a composer, he wrote a number of works including several Etudes de Concert, Introduction et Valse Lente op. 10 and Dream of the Flowers. Sieveking was also a keen inventor and his patented designs included a vibrating device for the grand piano in 1898.
Polish (Warsaw, December 15, 1865 — Warsaw, March 4, 1930)
Józef Sliwiński was a pianist, conductor and teacher. His father was the organist of the Warsaw Cathedral. His first piano lessons were under Juliusz Janotha and Kazimierz Hofman. He also studied with Leschetizky in Vienna, with Anton Rubinstein in Saint Petersburg and also with Karol Mikuli, particularly the works of Chopin. He performed in America on three different tours. He directed the Saratov Conservatory in Russian. He made a number of piano rolls in Leipzig, predominantly with the music of Chopin.
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.
American (Arizona, November 24, 1951)
Jeffrey Swann is a pianist. He studied with Alexander Uninsky in Dallas and with with Beveridge Wesbter and Joseph Bloch at the Juilliard School. Subsequently, he obtained a doctoral degree in musical arts with Adele Marcus. He was awarded at international competitions such as the Young Concert Artists International auditions, Dino Ciani, Queen Elisabeth, Chopin, Van Cliburn, Vianna da Motta and Montreal. Swann has made records for such labels as Ars Polona, DG, RCA Italy, Replica and Agorá. He regularly offers masterclasses in the U.S., Italy and Germany.
Polish (Lublin, February 22, 1868 — August 16, 1938)
Antoinette Szumowska was a pianist and teacher. She studied with Rudolf Strobl, Aleksander Michalowski and intermittently with Paderewski in Paris. She was a member of the Adamowski Trio with her husband, cellist Josef Adamowski, and his brother. During and after World War I, Szumowska was involved in raising money for clothing and food for her compatriots in Poland. She taught at the New England Conservatory where his students included Jesús María Sanromá and Dai Buell.
Russian (Kharkiv, November 3, 1883 — Los Angeles, March 22, 1976)
Sergei Tarnowsky was a pianist and teacher. He studied with Henryk Bobinski and Anna Essipova. Subsequently, he taught at the Kiev Conservatory where Vladimir Horowitz, Alexander Uninsky and Vladimir Yampolsky were among his pupils. Tarnowsky emigrated to the United States in 1930 where he was appointed professor at the DePaul University in Chicago. In the U.S. he performed with Nathan Milstein, Raya Garbousova and William Primrose. He married Alexander Glazunov´s daughter and later one of his students, Maxine Matlavish, and settled in California, where Horacio Gutiérrez was among his students.
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]
Hungarian (Homonna, November 4, 1862 — Budapest, September 22, 1940)
Pianist, composer and a crucial teacher in perpetuating Liszt´s influence in Hungary. He was a superb pianist and devoted much of his time to write pedagogical works, such as the Intermezzo and Caprice or the six volumes of technical etudes, which still are used today. His wife Valerie (1878-1948) was a successful singer and gave early performances of works by Bartók and Kodály. Their daughter Mária (1899-1948) was a professional violinist.
[See the István Thomán Tradition]
Polish (February 24, 1893 — May 31, 1968)
Ignacy Tiegerman was a pianist and teacher. He was a student of Theodor Leschetizky and Ignacy Friedman. He spent most of his life teaching in Cairo. Among his students were Henri Barda and Edward Said.
Ukrainian-American (Kyiv, February 2, 1910 — Dallas, Texas, December 19, 1972)
Alexander Uninsky was a pianist of Polish, Russian and Ukrainian descent. He studied at the Kiev Conservatory with Sergei Tarnowsky and at the Paris Conservatoire with Lazare Lévy. He was awarded first prize at the 2nd International Chopin Competition in 1932, after a draw which was resolved by the tossing of a coin. He joined the French Army during the World War II and later emigrated to South America where he performed extensively. In the early 40s, he moved to the United States and, in 1955, he became a professor at the Conservatory of Toronto in Canada and also taught at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He made numerous recordings, particularly of the music of Chopin.
Upton, William Treat
American (Tallmadge, Ohio, December 17, 1870 — Adelphi, Maryland, January 19, 1961)
William Treat Upton was a pianist, organist, teacher and musicologist. He studied at Oberlin College and Conservatory, with Leschetizky in Vienna and with Josef Lhévinne in Berlin. He taught piano at Oberlin and published the referential biographies of A.P. Heinrich and W.H. Fry.
Russian-American (Minsk, March 1, 1877 — New York, February 7, 1956)
Isabelle Vengerova was a pianist and teacher. She studied with Joseph Dachs at the Vienna Conservatory and, privately, with Theodor Leschetizky. She was also a pupil of Anna Essipova in Saint Petersburg, where Vengerova was a teacher at the Imperial Conservatory from 1906 to 1920. She settled in the United States in 1923. A year later, she was involved in the foundation of the Curtis Institute and, in 1933, she was appointed professor at Mannes College. Among her students were Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Gary Graffman and Jacob Lateiner.
[See the Isabelle Vengerova Tradition]
Virsaladze [née Abdushelishvili], Anastasia
Georgia (Kutaisi, November 11, 1883 — Tbilisi, September 5, 1968)
Anastasia Virsaladze was a pianist and teacher. She studied with Anna Essipova at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. She taught at the Tbilisi Conservatory from 1921 to 1946 where she had over 100 pupils including Dmitri Bashkirov, Lev Vlassenko and her own granddaughter Eliso Virsaladze. She was likely the first Georgian pianist to perform in the United States.
American (Odessa, Ukraine, July 7, 1879 — New York, November 2, 1956)
Jacob Weinberg was a pianist and composer. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory and with Theodor Leschetizky in Vienna. From 1915 to 1921, he taught at the Odessa Conservatory and, subsequently, he lived in Palestine until 1926. Later, he settled in the United States where he taught at Hunter College in New York. Weinberg wrote a Piano concerto.
Polish (Lublin, May 23, 1837 — Brussels, November 11, 1912)
Józef Wieniawski was a pianist, conductor and composer. Coming from a family of musicians, he performed frequently all over Europe with his brother, the violinist Henryk Wieniawski. He received a scholarship from the tsar which allowed him to go to study with Liszt in Weimar. His circle of friends in Paris included Auber, Berlioz and Gounod. He co-founded the Warsaw Musical Society. He was highly skilled in sight-reading, transposing and accompanying. His compositions are mainly influenced by Chopin and Liszt. Noteworthy are the 24 études de mécanisme et du style. He also worked with piano manufacturer Mangeot in constructing a two-keyboard piano, with one of the keyboards tuned in reverse, but the invention was not successful.
American (Cleveland, Ohio, September 6, 1884 — Lyme, Connecticut, March 25, 1958)
Emerson Whithorne was a composer and pianist. He studied with James Rogers, Theodor Leschetizky and Artur Schnabel. He was executive editor of the Art Publication Society of Saint Louis and vice-president of the Composers´ Music Corporation in New York. Whithorne was also manager for the pianist Ethel Leginska, to whom he was married for a few years. As a composer, he wrote the suite El camino real, New York Days and Nights and The Aeroplane op. 38, no. 2, among numerous other works.
Austrian-American (Vienna, November 5, 1887 — Manhasset, New York, March 3, 1961)
Paul Wittgenstein was a pianist. He was a pupil of Malwine Brée and Theodor Leschetizky. During World War I, he lost his right arm which did not impede him to pursue a performing career playing works for the left hand. Numerous works were written for him such as Ravel´s Concerto for the left hand, Strauss´ Parergon, Britten´s Diversions and Prokofiev´s Concerto no. 4. Wittgenstein taught at the Ralph Wolfe Conservatory and at the Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart. He published a collection exercises in School for the left hand.
Russian (Cherkasy, Ukraine, 1905 — June 2, 1965)
Vladimir Yampolsky was a pianist and teacher. He studied with Sergei Tarnowsky. He made a number of recordings, particularly with David Oistrakh, for EMI Classics and RCA among others.
Russian (Nevel, Vitebsk Governorate, September 10, 1899 — Moscow, November 19, 1970)
Maria Yudina was a pianist. She took her first piano lessons with Frida Teitelbaum-Levinson in Vitebsk. Subsequently, she moved to the Saint Petersburg Conservatory where she studied under Anna Essipova, Vladimir Drozdov, Felix Blumenfeld and Leonid Nikolayev. Besides piano, Yudina also studied conducting, organ, percussion and counterpoint. She taught at the conservatory from 1923 to 1930, when she was expelled due to her religious views. After teaching for two years at the Tbilisi Conservatory, she was appointed professor of piano at the Moscow Conservatory in 1936 and at the Gnessin Institute in 1944. Once again, she was dismissed from both institutions in 1951 and 1960, respectively. Yudina´s beliefs in defending Russian Orthodoxy and championing contemporary Western composers were the root cause of numerous quarrels with the Soviet regime. As a consequence, her concert appearances were restricted to the USSR with the exception of some concerts in Poland, Leipzig and East Berlin.
Zadora, Michael von
Polish-American (New York, June 14, 1882 — New York, June 30, 1946)
Michael Zadora was a pianist and composer. He received his first piano lessons from his father and later studied at the Paris Conservatoire. He also worked with Leschetizky, Busoni and Petri. Zadora taught at the Lemberg Conservatory and at the Institute of Musical Art in New York. He composed numerous works for the piano including the Kirgiz Sketches and Bach and Buxtehude transcriptions. Sometimes he signed his compositions with the pseudonym Pietro Amadis.
French (Paris, March 19?, 1785 — Paris, October 29, 1853)
Pierre Zimmermann was a pianist, teacher and composer. His father was a Parisian piano maker. Zimmermann entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1798, where he became a student of Boieldieu and won the Premier Prix in 1800, surpassing Frédéric Kalkbrenner. He started teaching at the Conservatoire in 1811. Charles Gounod was his son-in-law. He published the Encyclopédie du pianist in 1840.
[See the Pierre Zimmermann Tradition]
© 2022, by Daniel Pereira