The Franz Liszt Tradition
Piano Traditions Through Their Genealogy Trees
© 2021, 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.
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.
German (Buchwald, Silesia, October 15, 1862 — Berlin, February 13, 1930)
One of Franz Liszt´s last pupils in Weimar in 1885 and 1886 as well as one of the most intellectual pianists of his generation, Conrad Ansorge taught at the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory in Berlin and was head of the piano department at the German Academy in Prague. He was a noteworthy Beethoven interpreter and recorded the sonatas op. 27 no. 2 and op. 13 for the company Vox in the 1920s. Among his works as a composer, we find a Piano concerto and 3 piano sonatas.
German-Norwegian (Neunkirchen, May 6, 1794 — Oslo, November 11, 1873)
Arnold arrived in Christiania (now Oslo) as a political refugee in 1847 and became a highly respected teacher, composer, pianist and theorist. He composed a Piano Concerto and music for the coronation of Charles XV.
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]
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.
English (Birmingham, June 19, 1842 — London, March 26, 1888)
Pianist and composer, and a crucial figure in promoting the works of Franz Liszt in London, he devoted his career to mostly performing the Hungarian composers´ piano works as well as his own arrangements of the orchestral pieces. Along with Edward Dannreuther and Karl Klindworth, he formed a group called The Working Men´s Society, dedicated to advocate the works by Liszt, Wagner and the New German School. Bache, who studied with Liszt regularly for over three years, established a concert series in which not only the works of Liszt were performed, but there were accompanying in-depth notes regarding the interpretation and analysis of his works. Bache and Liszt appeared in concert together when the latter visited England in the spring of 1886.
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.
German-Swiss (Leipzig, March 26, 1884 — Villach, July 5, 1969)
Largely self-taught after the age of 15, Backhaus has become known for posterity for making the first-ever recordings of a piano concerto (Grieg´s concerto, 1909) as well as the complete Chopin etudes. Backhaus was a pianist of a formidable technique even at an advanced age, demonstrated by the performance of Brahms´ Second Piano Concerto in London when he was in his 80s, with Otto Klemperer conducting. According to him, his technique was based on scales, arpeggios and Bach. His international career was launched after winning the Rubinstein Prize in Paris in 1905.
Austrian (Vienna, October 6, 1927 — Vienna, September 25, 2019)
Particularly admired for his interpretations of the Viennese Classic composers, Badura-Skoda was fascinated with historical instruments, and counted in his private collection fortepianos built by Broadwood, Graf and Schantz. He edited Beethoven sonatas, Mozart concertos, Chopin etudes and some works by Schubert, and wrote cadenzas for Viennese concertos. Frank Martin dedicated to him his Second Piano Concerto. He won the Austrian Music Competition in 1947 and was artist-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin from 1966 to 1971. He was married to the Austrian musicologist Eva Badura-Skoda.
German (Baltiysk, near Kaliningrad, July 12, 1847 — Berlin, December 23, 1922)
Heir of the Liszt tradition passed onto him through four of Liszt´s students, Barth was a famed pianist and teacher, 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]
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]
Barentzen, Aline van
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.
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]
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 that 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, becoming a highly respected composer. Beethoven´s piano output is crowned by the 32 sonatas, the 5 piano concertos and the Diabelli variations, all of which are masterpieces of the piano repertoire.
[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 (Iowa, 1871— Chicago, June 23, 1935)
With a formidable music pedigree, she studied with such prominent pianists as Joseffy, Bülow and Anton Rubinstein. She concertized in Europe and in the United States and appeared twice at the White House. She published her recollections of Anton Rubinstein on articles for the Musical Courier and also on the Rosary Magazine.
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.
Bortkiewicz, Sergei Eduardovich
Russian-Austrian (Kharkiv, February 28, 1877 — Vienna, October 25, 1952)
Although he was an accomplished pianist, he became recognized as a composer and performer of his own works, including the Piano Concerto no. 1 and the Piano Concerto no. 2 for the left hand alone, written and dedicated to Paul Wittgenstein. His compositional style was rooted in the post-Romantic Russian tradition, with influences from Liszt, Chopin and Tchaikovsky. He lived in Russia, Constantinople and Vienna, becoming an Austrian citizen in 1926.
German (Hamburg, May 7, 1833 — Vienna, April 3, 1897)
One of the greatest composers of all time, his father made a living by playing in dance halls and taverns. Although his upbringing was within a modest family, he was a keen reader of many subjects and amassed a substantial personal library of over 800 volumes, now conserved at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. He was fond of folklore and contributed to support his family and himself by playing at the “Schänken”, in theatres and probably at sailor´s bars. He was in close terms with Joseph Joachim and Clara Schumann, with whom he was likely enamored. In the 1850s, Brahms signed a manifesto against the “Music of the Future”, particularly that of Liszt. His piano compositions are among the finest in the history of the piano repertoire. He wrote two colossal piano concertos, several sets of variations, three sonatas, ballades, waltzes and the last sets of shorter pieces such as the opp. 116, 117, 118 and 119. He also produced many chamber music works of the highest quality that became part of the standard repertoire. He was diagnosed with liver cancer and died at the age of 63. He is buried in Vienna close to the remains of Beethoven and Schubert.
Hungarian (Pest, October 20, 1799 — Pest, April 15, 1871)
A distinguished musical figure in mid-nineteenth century Hungary, Bräuer was active as a conductor, pianist, violinist, teacher and composer. Among his teachers is Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Mozart´s protégé, and Stephen Heller was his most famous pupil.
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.
Bronsart von Schellendorf, Hans
German (Berlin, February 11, 1830 — Munich, November 3, 1913)
Liszt admired Bronsart and dedicated to him his Second Piano Concerto, who also gave its premiere. 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.
Bronsart [née Starck], Ingeborg
German (Saint Petersburg, August 12 or 24, 1840 — Munich, June 17, 1913)
Although born in Saint Petersburg, she was German of Swedish descent. She had a successful performing career until she married Hans Bronsart von Schellendorf in 1861 when, due to her husband´s duties as Intendant in Hanover and Weimar, she had to abandon the concert stage. From then on, she was entirely devoted to composition, especially songs and operas, which are influenced by Liszt and Wagner.
Austrian (Prossnitz, now Prostějov, November 7, 1846 — Vienna, September 17, 1907)
A friend and member of Johannes Brahms´s inner circle in Vienna, for whom he regularly played, Brüll travelled as concert pianist, including a visit to London in 1878. He taught at the Horák Piano School in Vienna. As composer, he wrote two piano concertos, a sonata and four suites for piano, among other works.
Bülow, Hans Guido Freiherr von
German (Dresden, Germany, January 8, 1830 — Cairo, Egypt, February 12, 1894)
One of the most important piano heirs of Liszt´s tradition, he concertized in Europe and America achieving important feats as the premiere of Tchaikovsky´s First Piano Concerto in Boston in 1875, being the first pianist ever to perform the complete Beethoven sonatas in a single cycle or giving the first performance of Liszt´s Sonata in B minor. He was a superb pianist with an excellent memory and precision. He was also a professional conductor and gave the premieres of Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. He held the positions of Hofkapellmeister in Munich and in Hanover, Hofmusikdirektor in Meiningen and principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic from 1887 to 1892. He composed a number of piano pieces and made some piano transcriptions of orchestral works by Wagner, Glück and Weber. He was married to Liszt´s daughter Cosima until she left him for Richard Wagner.
[See the Hans von Bülow Tradition]
German (Hamburg, December 7, 1860 — Berlin, February 19, 1944)
Composer, pianist and teacher, he studied with Liszt in Weimar, Rome and Budapest and often travelled with him. He toured extensively in Europe and in the United States. He wrote a Piano Concerto and rescored Chopin´s F minor Concerto, among other pieces by Liszt and Weber.
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]
Italian (1872 — 1966)
A child prodigy, she entered the Academia di Santa Cecilia in Rome with a scholarship at the age of six. She played frequently under Arturo Toscanini´s baton. In 1903, she married Italian businessman Guido Carreras, who became her concert manager, although they later divorced. She died at the age of 89 due to a heart ailment.
French (Paris, May 29, 1891 — Paris, September 2, 1980)
Premier Prix at the Paris Conservatory, he played in trio with Maurice Hayot and André Hekking, and appeared often with Casals, Enescu and Thibaud. His Debussy recordings are noteworthy, and he played once for the French composer.
Italo-English (Rome, January 23, 1752 — Evesham, Worcester, March 10, 1832)
Popularly known as the “father of the pianoforte”, his influence on subsequent generations of pianists, piano composers, publishing and manufacturing firms is undisputed. Clementi counted among his students such distinguished pianists as Ludwig Berger, Carl Czerny, John Field and Frédéric Kalkbrenner. His pedagogical works Introduction to theAart of Playing the Pianoforte (1801) and Gradus ad Parnassum (1817, 1819, 1826) became of frequent use for pianists all over the world. In his teens, Clementi´s talent drew the attention of an Englishman named Peter Beckford, who in his own words “bought Clementi of his father for seven years”. Clementi spent all that time near Dorset, England, immersed in studying music and practicing the harpsichord. After this period, he moved to London where he became a celebrity as composer, teacher, performer, manufacturer and publisher, and signed a contract with Beethoven to publish a few major works. He is buried at the cloisters of Westminster Abbey in London.
[See the Muzio Clementi Tradition]
German (Knauthain, near Leipzig, March 8, 1824 — Leipzig, October 24, 1897)
Pianist and teacher, he was one of Thalberg´s pupils and taught at the Leipzig Conservatory for more than 30 years, at the same of Moscheles and Reinecke.
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.
Cornelius, Carl August Peter
German (Mainz, December 24, 1824 — Mainz, October 26, 1874)
Born into a family of artists and craftsmen, he was an individual of broad interests such as languages, poetry and literature besides playing the piano, violin, singing and composing. He was in close terms with both Liszt and Wagner and was admired by his peers Bülow, Raff, Tausig and by Brahms and Schumann.
Costa, Helena Sá e
Portuguese (Porto, May 23, 1913 — Porto, January 8, 2006)
A crucial figure in Portugal´s piano scene, she was the daughter of pianists Luís Costa and Leonilda Moreira de Sá e Costa. She succeeded Vianna da Motta at the Lisbon Conservatory and also taught at the Porto Conservatory, founded by her grandfather. She played Bach concertos with Edwin Fischer throughout Europe and was the first pianist to perform the complete Bach´s Well-tempered clavier in Portugal. She had a tremendous performing career playing recitals, concertos and chamber music, and influenced many generations of pianists.
Costa, Luís António Ferreira da
Portuguese (São Pedro, September 25, 1879 — Oporto, January 7, 1960)
Heir of Liszt´s piano tradition through his teachers Conrad Ansorge, José Vianna da Motta and Bernhard Stavenhagen, he also studied with Busoni, and was director of the Porto Conservatory. He frequently played with such noted musicians as Casals, Hekking, Cortot and Enesco. He married pianist Leonilde Moreira de Sá, a pupil of Vianna da Motta. Two of their daughters became prominent musicians: pianist Helena de Sá e Costa and cellist Madalena de Sá e Costa.
Portuguese (Luanda, Angola, July 28, 1929 — Olathe, Kansas, February 21, 2019)
One of the greatest Portuguese pianists of all time, he won the Grand Prix at the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris. He founded the Vianna International Piano Competition in Portugal in 1957. He produced numerous recordings including the complete concertos of Rachmaninov. Pianist Artur Pizarro is his stepson.
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]
Bohemian (Hořovice, Czech Republic, June 17, 1785 — Vienna, September 22, 1831)
He collaborated in Anton Diabelli´s variations project, Vaterländischer Künstlerverein, with variation number 5. Among his students were pianist Leopolidine Blahetka and Beethoven´s nephew Carl.
D´Albert, Eugène Francis Charles
German (Glasgow, April 10, 1864 — Riga, March 3, 1932)
Composer, pianist, teacher and editor, Domenico Alberti was one of his ancestors, and his grandfather worked as Napoleon´s assistant. Admired by Anton Rubinstein and Clara Schumann, Liszt considered him among his best students. D´Albert was in close terms with Brahms, whose piano concertos he played under the composer´s baton. Although he mastered a vast repertoire, he particularly excelled in performing the German composers. He was the dedicatee of Strauss´s Burleske. He wrote piano concertos, a suite and some other pieces, and a good number of operas. His Bach transcriptions and editions were highly praised and equaled to Busoni´s. Among D´Albert´s six wives was Venezuelan pianist Teresa Carreño.
Dayas, William Humphreys
American (New York, September 12, 1863 — Manchester, England, May 3, 1903)
An accomplished pianist, he favored teaching to concertizing and held positions at several conservatories in Europe. He was in close terms with Liszt and Busoni. He composed some piano works and songs.
French (Paris, March 27, 1851 — Paris, December 2, 1931)
Composer, conductor, teacher and editor of early music, he came from a military aristocratic family. Co-founder of the Schola Cantorum in Paris in 1894, he composed a number of piano works including sonatas, Nocturne, Promenade and Menuet sur le nom d´Haydn.
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.
German (Alverdissen, Lippe, November 7, 1828 — Bad Pyrmont, September 5, 1890)
Pianist, teacher, conductor and composer, his piano technique and teaching methods had a great influence, as we can withdraw from his pupil Amy Fay´s writings. His ideas were continued and developed by Adolf Mikeš and partially followed by Leschetizky. He was Kapellmeister of the Royal Opera in Berlin. Deppe wrote an autobiography.
Austrian (Vienna, June 20, 1833 — Vienna, November 7, 1919)
He had an important impact on the Russian school of pianism. He was a member of the Royal Academy in Stockholm and president of the Friends of Brahms Society in Vienna. He was the dedicatee of Tchaikovsky´s Valse-Caprice op. 4 and Saint-Saëns´ Piano Concerto no. 4.
[See the Anton Door Tradition]
Czech (Žáky, October 16, 1818 — Venice, April 1, 1869)
He toured extensively in Europe for a few years, playing in Germany, Russia, France, England, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary and Austria. He taught at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. His left-hand technique was famous, of which Cramer said that it was like “two right-hands”. He mostly performed his own works.
Dunkl, János Nepomuk
Austro-Hungarian (Vienna, August 6, 1832 — Budapest, January 29, 1910)
Pianist, editor and promotor of concerts, he established a company devoted to the distribution of music and scores. He was a friend of Liszt´s and editor of his music and travelled with him in Hungary and in the East.
German (Wenden, Livonia, now Cēsis, Latvia, March 5, 1896 — Hamburg, June 21, 1958)
Pianist and composer specialized on the New Music of his time including compositions by Tiessen and Schoenberg, until this repertoire was prohibited by the Third Reich. During this period, Erdmann continued performing Romantic works. As a composer, his compositions were also affected by the restrictions and were not allowed to be played in public until 1946, when he composed the Konzertstück for piano and orchestra.
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.
Swiss (Basle, October 6, 1886 — Zürich, January 24, 1960)
Pianist and conductor, he was recognized as an expressive and scholarly interpreter, and for recording the first-ever complete Well-tempered clavier in the 1930s. His interpretations of Bach and Mozart were especially praised. He edited the Mozart´s sonatas and keyboard works by J.S. Bach. Fischer composed songs and small piano pieces as well as cadenzas for some Mozart and Beethoven piano concertos.
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.
Hungarian-British (Budapest, October 2, 1935)
Winner of the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition, the Munich Sonata Competition and the Rio de Janeiro Prize, he formed an acclaimed trio with György Pauk and Ralph Kirshbaum in 1972. He performed Britten´s Piano Concerto under the composer´s baton and recorded the complete piano works of Schumann and Debussy. He taught at the Yale School of Music in the United States.
Hungarian (1879 — May 2, 1977)
Sister of pianist Robert Freund, she was a close friend of Béla Bartók, whose music she promoted, and of Brahms, with whom she spent many hours. Brahms also intervened to help her become a member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna and coached her for over a year. She toured and concertized until she got married and had to raise two sons. Years after, she returned to the concert stage in top pianistic shape.
Hungarian (Budapest, April 1, 1852 — Budapest, April 8, 1936)
His sister was the pianist Etelka Freund. He was one of the first professors of the Zurich Conservatory, and counted among his circle of friends such personalities as Brahms, Nietzsche and Richard Strauss. He composed some works including songs and piano pieces and published a book of memoires with recollections of his encounters with Liszt, Brahms and others.
German (Saint Petersburg, October 26, 1859 — New York, October 19, 1932)
Regarded as one of the most relevant advocates of the music of Franz Liszt, he was his pupil for the last eight years of the composer´s life, living with him in Rome and Weimar and acting as his personal secretary. His reminiscences and psychological study of Liszt were collected and edited by his pupil Theodore Bullock and published in 1961 as Life and Liszt. He edited the works of Chopin and, as a composer, his works include operas and two piano concertos.
German (Berlin, January 25, 1886 — Baden-Baden, November 30, 1954)
Conductor, composer and writer, he was the son of an archaeologist and a painter. He studied for a long period of time with Heinrich Schenker. He became the conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic, among others. His ambiguous position towards Nazism stirred controversy during the last 10 years of his life. His compositions include a Piano Concerto, eight sonatas, two fugues and two fantasies. He died of pneumonia at 68.
Swiss (Zürich, February 24, 1877 — Chicago, August 2, 1972)
He studied the cello and took composition lessons with Charles Blanchet and Heinrich Urban. He conducted the premiere of his First Symphony with the Berlin Philharmonic and directed a number of Young People´s Concerts with the New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony. He was music director of the Saint Louis Symphony. He favored modern music and introduced works of Bartók, Korngold, Loeffler and many others to American audiences, and was an advocate of the works of MacDowell. He was the dedicatee of Busoni´s First Sonatina and Ravel´s Scarbo. As a composer, he wrote a Konzertstück and a Piano Concerto, among other works.
Hungarian (Józsefváros, Pest, June 7, 1841 — Budapest, March 22, 1920)
Son of a violinist and teacher of Italian origin, he became a member of the Grünwald-Müller-Gobbi trio when he was 18 years old. He was part of Liszt´s inner circle for almost 20 years and the Hungarian virtuoso assumed financial responsibility of Gobbi´s son Franz Xaver. He was fundamental in introducing the music of the young Brahms in Hungary and for promoting the performance of Bach´s keyboard works. He wrote a handful of piano pieces including the Fantasy Pictures op. 17 and the Six Character Pieces op. 19, although most of his compositions remain unpublished.
Austrian-American (Vienna, Austria, March 17, 1911 — Danbury, Connecticut, September 16, 1991)
He concertized in Europe and Latin America and was admired by his interpretations of Chopin, whose works he recorded in the 1940s and 50s. He often programmed works by American composers in his recitals. The International Piano Archives at Maryland owns the Robert Goldsand Collection which consists mainly of private recordings of Goldsand’s concerts.
Austrian (Linz, July 2, 1859 — Linz, March 16, 1923)
Pianist, conductor, pedagogue and music writer, he was one of Liszt´s pupils, aides and travel companions during concert tours. He also was a secretary and friend of Anton Bruckner and wrote an influential biography of him. He was director of the Linz Musikverein and conducted the premiere of works by Liszt and Bruckner. His wife Gisela Pászthory-Voigt was also a Liszt pupil.
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.
Gordon Woodhouse [née Gywnne], Violet
English (London, April 23, 1872 — London, January 9, 1948)
Besides being a pianist, she played both the harpsichord and the clavichord and was one of the first musicians to show interest and champion the use of the early keyboard instruments in England. She was a wealthy woman, and her professional public life was not particularly active. She made the first-ever harpsichord gramophone recording in the Summer of 1920. She experimented with the use of her fingers directly on the clavichord strings.
Greef, Arthur de
Belgian (Leuven, October 10, 1862 — Brussels, August 29, 1940)
Elected member of the Belgian Royal Academy in 1925, he toured extensively in Europe and mastered a vast repertory. In 1892 he offered a series of recitals in Paris representing the history of piano music. He was a champion of Grieg´s Piano Concerto and was regarded its best interpreter by the composer. He wrote two piano concertos and a handful of small piano pieces.
Grøndahl, Agathe Backer
Norwegian (Holmestrand, December 1, 1847 — Cristiania, now Oslo, June 4, 1907)
Married to the conductor Olams Andreas Grøndahl, she had an important impact in Norway both as a pianist and composer, particularly for her songs and for the over 120 piano pieces she composed. Noteworthy are the Serenade op. 15 no. 1, the Ballade op. 36 no 5, Sommervise op. 45 no. 3 and the Six Concert-etuder op. 11.
Austrian (Haselberg, June 5, 1789 — Vienna, April 6, 1872)
An official of the Imperial and Royal Army for a period of three years, he met Beethoven and performed his works on a few occasions, writing a four-hand arrangement of the Grosse Fugue for Artaria. He also collaborated with a variation for Anton Diabelli´s project.
French (Reims, August 21, 1936)
Premier Prix in 1954 at the Paris Conservatory, he enjoyed a successful career performing with major orchestras an appearing at the most important concert halls all over the world. His rendering of Beethoven´s 32 sonatas is one of his most noteworthy recordings. He also made recordings of Mozart concertos, for which he published cadenzas, and most of the piano works of Fauré. He frequently appeared in concert with Paul Tortelier.
Hungarian-French (Pest, May 15, 1813— Paris, January 14, 1888)
Of Jewish descent, he went to Vienna to study with Carl Czerny, but his father was not able to afford his expensive fees. Through Anton Halm, he met Schubert and Beethoven. When he was on a concert tour in Augsburg, he fell ill from nervous fatigue and remained in that city for about eight years. He collaborated with Schumann writing for the Neue Zeitschrift and the German composer highly appreciated his letters exchange with him. He settled in Paris in 1838 and became Berlioz´s closest friend, writing for the Gazette musicale. In his later years, he did not enjoy public performing and he also started having sight problems. Heller published a substantial amount of piano works, which range from the elementary level to virtuoso-like compositions. Examples of his varied piano writing are the etudes opp. 16, 45, 46, 47, 90 and 125, the Introduction, variations and finale op. 6, the Sonata op. 143 and the Preludes op. 150. Liszt and other pianists played his etude de concert La chasse op. 29 frequently. He also wrote transcriptions of Schubert lieder.
Austrian (Vienna, January 6, 1803 — Paris, January 5, 1888)
A child prodigy, he began to perform and compose at the age of eight. He co-founded the École Spéciale de Piano in Paris with his brother Jacques Simon Herz. He was a famous virtuoso and composer during the 1830s and 40s, concertizing extensively in Europe, Russia, South America and in the United States. He wrote the recollections of his travels in a memoir. A prolific piano composer, he wrote 8 piano concertos, exercises, dances and salon pieces. Examples of his output are the Trois nocturnes caractéristiques and the variations on a theme of Rossini´s La Cenerentola. Liszt asked Herz to compose a variation number 4 for the Hexaméron project on a theme of Bellini´s I puritani. He founded a piano manufacturing company in 1851 and one of his pianos was awarded the first prize at the Paris Exhibition of 1855.
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
Hummel, Johann Nepomuk
Austrian (Pressburg, now Bratislava, November 14, 1778 — Weimar, October 17, 1837)
One of the most famous pianists and composers of his time, he was also active as a conductor and teacher. The son of a string player and conductor, he was musically precocious since the age of three. A pupil of Mozart, Hummel lived in the Mozart´s household where he met da Ponte, Haydn and other personalities of Vienna. He also studied with Albrechtsberger and Salieri. In 1788, he went on an extended concert tour that took him all over Europe during the next five years. In 1804, he succeeded Haydn at Esterházy and conducted the premiere of Haydn´s The Creation at the palace in Eisenstadt. In 1818 he was appointed grand-ducal Kapellmeister at Weimar, a post he held until his death. Hummel met and had a profound impact on Chopin, Liszt and Schubert, who had dedicated to him his last three piano sonatas until Diabelli posthumously changed the dedicatory to Schumann. He was a prolific composer in virtually all genres of the time and wrote piano concertos, variations, sonatas, preludes, bagatelles, rondos and numerous other pieces, including successful piano arrangements of orchestral works. His Complete Theoretical and Practical Course of Instructions on the Art of Playing the Piano Forte enjoyed a tremendous success and was published almost at the same time in Germany, England and France, selling thousands of copies. He maintained an unsettling but lasting friendship with Beethoven, was one of the pallbearers at his funeral and improvised at the Beethoven´s memorial concert upon the composer´s request. He married the singer Elisabeth Röckel and one of their sons, Eduard, became a pianist.
[See the Johann Nepomuk Hummel Tradition]
Austrian (Trieste, March 5, 1832 — Paris, February 27, 1882)
Firstly, he was taught the violin and the piano by his father Eduard Jaëll, and was married to the pianist Marie Trautmann in 1866. He was a piano virtuoso and a friend of Franz Liszt. Jaëll was court pianist at Hanover and was a pianist admired by his interpretations of Chopin. He composed a handful of virtuoso works and paraphrases.
Jaëll [née Trautmann], Marie
French (Steinseltz, near Wissembourg, Alsace, August 17, 1846 — Paris, February 4, 1925)
Premier Prix at the Paris Conservatory in 1862, she was married to pianist Alfred Jaëll, with whom she toured and performed in Europe. She was a friend of Liszt and carried out duties as his secretary. Liszt wrote a set of variations inspired on her waltz for piano duet. She was the first French pianist to perform the complete Beethoven 32 sonatas in 1893. She was the dedicatee of Saint-Saëns´ First Piano Concerto and the Etude en forme de valse. She was a pioneer in the physiological study of the hand´s anatomy and of the movement of the fingers, and wrote a number of books on these subjects, favoring the economy of movement in playing. She composed a handful of piano works.
German-American (Eastern Prussia, May 27, 1881 — November 19, 1960)
Member of the Brahms Piano Trio, he started to play the piano at age four and offered his first recital at the age of eight in Berlin. He was once equaled to Paderewski and Hofmann as being one of the greatest pianists of his time. He offered American pianist Byron Janis a scholarship to study with him, but Janis rejected it in favor of studying with Adele Marcus in New York.
Hungarian-American (Hunfalu, Hungary, July 3, 1852 — New York, June 25, 1915)
Although he studied with Liszt for two summers, he claimed that he benefited more from Carl Tausig´s teaching in Berlin. He edited works of Chopin and Liszt for Schirmer and published in 1902 the School of Advanced Piano Playing. His manuscript and score collection was destroyed due to a fire in his house.
Kaan, Ludovika von
Professor of Alfred Brendel at the Graz Conservatory.
Israeli-American (Tel-Aviv, January 15, 1946)
Thanks to the intervention of Claudio Arrau, he went to study at the Juilliard School in 1962. He won the Young Concert Artist´s Award and the Leventritt Competition, which had Szell and Serkin in the jury. He is a member of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson trio, which recorded most of the standard trio repertoire including complete trios of Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms as well as works written for them by Danielpour and Corigliano.
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.
German (Nuremberg, March 5, 1853 — Munich, June 14, 1926)
Pianist, teacher, conductor and university professor, he was born into a musical family. He taught at the Ramann Volkmann School, whose director was Lina Ramann, one of Liszt´s biographers, at Kullak´s Neue Akademie der Tonkunst and at the Stern Conservatory, both in Berlin. Kellermann also taught Wagner´s children and copied some of his scores.
Kinscella, Hazel Gertrude
American (Nora Springs, United States, April 27, 1893 — Seattle, July 14, 1960)
After completing her studies at the Nebraska, Columbia and Washington universities, she became interested in music education and her activities pioneered piano teaching in state schools in the United States. She published several books including Steps for the Young Pianist and History sings.
Norwegian (Christiania, now Oslo, September 17, 1815 — Christiania, August 11, 1868)
Although his family did not want him to study music but law, music remained always his main interest. Due to a severe illness, he travelled to Paris where he could experience the intense musical life there. Upon his return to Christiania, his father, brother and sister died within a short period of time. Subsequently, he had to work as a journalist but continued to learn music. Years later, he was able to study composition with Gade in Copenhagen and with E.F. Richter in Leipzig.
Klindworth, Karl Ludwig
German (Hanover, September 25, 1830 — Stolpe, near Oranienburg, July 27, 1916)
His first musical instruction was on the violin and later he was self-taught on the piano. While studying with Liszt, he created the “Society of Murls” along with Bülow, Mason and others, in order to promote the “Music of the Future”, especially the compositions of Liszt and Wagner. Klindworth worked on the piano scores of the Ring upon Wagner´s request. While in Moscow, he was friends with Tchaikovsky and contributed to make his music known in the West. His adopted daughter, Winifred Williams, married Siegfried Wagner and became director of the Bayreuth Festival. He lived in London and Berlin, where he was conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic and founded the Klindworth Conservatory, which for a time was merged with Scharwenka´s. He made piano arrangements of Schubert´s Ninth Symphony for two pianos, Tchaikovsky´s Francesca da Rimini for piano, and Mozart´s Requiem for piano duet. As a composer, his output includes the 24 Studies in all the major and minor keys, and he contributed with editions of the Well-tempered clavier, Beethoven´s complete sonatas and Chopin´s entire output.
Köhler, Christian Louis
German (Brunswick, September 5, 1820 — Königsberg, Kaliningrad, February 16, 1886)
An important music critic for over 40 years, he dedicated his life mostly to piano pedagogy, being influenced by Liszt. He published collections of instructional exercises, editions of Classical and Romantic repertoire and pedagogy books. Particularly remarkable among them is the Systematische Lehrmethode. He wrote a number of piano pieces and was appointed Professor by the King of Prussia.
German (Lobstädt, near Leipzig, June 17, 1853 — Plattling, Bavaria, August 2, 1918)
One of the most important heirs of Liszt´s piano tradition, he was one of the founders of the Lisztverein in Leipzig in 1885 and a champion of the music and pianism of the Hungarian composer. He concertized for a time until he suffered a nervous breakdown. His interpretations of Beethoven were admired. He became a renowned teacher in Dresden, Munich and Berlin, where he taught Claudio Arrau.
[See the Martin Krause Tradition]
German (Krotoschin, now Krotoszyn, Poland, September 12, 1818 — Berlin, March 1, 1882)
One of the most eminent piano teachers in the 19th century, he 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. He 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]
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-American (Warsaw, November 1, 1863 — New York, December 31, 1929)
At the age of 12 he was sent to study at the Vienna Conservatory with recommendations from Theodor Leschetizky and Anton Rubinstein. He founded in 1888 the New York College of Music. He was struck and killed by a taxicab in Manhattan on New Year´s Eve, 1929.
Scottish (Glasgow, January 28, 1868 — Stirling, February 21, 1948)
A child prodigy, ha concertized extensively in Europe, Russia, United States and South America. Because of his rejection of Nazism, he was forced to live in Switzerland for a time and then moved back to England when World War II started. He was admired for his interpretations of the Beethoven piano sonatas and published Beethoven: Notes on the Sonatas in 1944. An incomplete autobiography was published posthumously in 1949 as The Memoirs of Frederic Lamond. He composed a handful of piano pieces and a piano trio.
Lang, Benjamin Johnson
American (Salem, United States, December 28, 1837 — Boston, April 4, 1909)
A multifaceted musician, he was recognized as a chamber music performer and accompanist as well as a marvelous improviser on the organ. He appeared frequently with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, and conducted the premiere of Tchaikovsky´s First Piano Concerto with the Boston Symphony in 1875, with Hans von Bülow at the piano. He was a pioneer with the edition and printing of program note, including the type of paper used and the text layout in order to avoid unnecessary page turning in quiet places of the music.
Italian (Naples, 1783 — Naples, 1862)
Son of composer and teacher Giuseppe Lanza, he moved with his father to London at the age of nine, where he met and studied with Clementi. He achieved reputation in London as a pianist and composer. He returned to Naples and taught many generations of pianists at the conservatory and is recognized as the father of the Neapolitan School of piano playing. In 1804, he offered one of the first public piano recitals in Naples. He composed only piano works including two concertos, fantasias on opera tunes, two sonatas and a piano method.
[See the Francesco Lanza Tradition]
Lenz, Wilhelm von
Russian (Riga, May 20 or June 1, 1809 — Saint Petersburg, January 7 or 19, 1883)
Appointed Imperial Russian Councilor of State in Saint Petersburg, he made the acquaintance of Chopin and Berlioz in Paris. He was an enthusiastic writer of music, and especially valuable is his book Beethoven et ses trois styles, in which he divided Beethoven´s style in three periods: early, middle and late. However, it was Fétis who firstly proposed this division.
Hungarian (Raiding, (in Hungarian: Doborján), October 22, 1811 — Bayreuth, July 31, 1886)
Pianist, conductor, teacher and composer, he is indisputably one of the greatest piano virtuosi of all time and a pioneer in different areas: he is the father of modern piano technique, inventor of the piano recital, the masterclass and of novel concepts in orchestral conducting. He performed complete concerts by memory, performed works from the entire history of the keyboard literature and always opened the lid of the piano towards the audience. His compositions envisioned new harmonic paths which greatly influenced Debussy, Ravel or Scriabin. Born in the Burgenland, a region which nowadays belongs to Austria, located at about 100 kms from Vienna, Liszt´s native tongue was German and he never became fluent or comfortable in Hungarian. His father, Adam, an amateur musician who worked for a long time at the Esterházy estates and met Joseph Haydn, gave him his first music lessons. During his travels, Liszt met Beethoven, Brahms, Anton Rubinstein, Chopin, Schumann, Berlioz, Alkan, Hiller, Grieg and many other contemporary figures. A student of Czerny, Salieri, Reicha and Ferdinando Paer, he went on extended concert tours in Europe, England, Scotland, Russia, Turkey, Spain and Portugal, playing numerous and populated recitals such as the one offered at La Scala in Milan for 3000 people. At the age of 35, he decided to abandon the stage and devote his time to mostly compose, teach and doing a great deal of travelling, especially to Weimar, Rome and Budapest. Always interested in the live of the saints, religion and spiritual life, he received the four minor Catholic orders in July 1865. He lived at the Vatican for a time and became friends with Pope Pius IX. His compositional output for piano is enormous. His large-scale works include the Sonata in B minor, the Dante Sonata and the piano concertos. He went beyond the Romantic concept of the étude with the 12 Transcendental Études, 6 Paganini Études or the several Études de Concert, and wrote numerous Hungarian Rhapsodies. He produced numerous sets of pieces including the Années de Pèlerinage, Harmonies Poétiques et Religieuses, as well as the Ballades and the Mephisto Waltzes. Liszt also made numerous transcriptions of Bach´s works, Schubert lieder and Beethoven symphonies and paraphrases on operatic themes such as Rigoletto, Don Juan and Norma. In the late pieces, he explored new harmonic devices, the exploitation of the limits of tonality and atmospheric effects in Nuages Gris, La Lugubre Gondola, Unstern! and Bagatelle sans tonalité. He produced editions of the Beethoven complete sonatas, Field´s nocturnes, Chopin´s complete works, and of pieces by Schubert and Weber. The most authoritative catalogue of Liszt´s works was compiled by British composer Humphrey Searle, hence the use of the letter “S” following the titles of Liszt´s works. Liszt had three children, two of them died during his lifetime and his daughter Cosima was married to Bülow before she left him for Richard Wagner. By the end of his life, Liszt suffered from dropsy, fevers and cataracts. He likely died of heart infraction at the age of 74.
[See the Franz Liszt Tradition]
French (Houilles, Seine-et-Oise, January 20, 1924 — Saint-Denis, near Paris, May 17, 2010)
Winner of six Premier Prix at the Paris Conservatory, she was Oliver Messiaen´s second wife, with whom she premiered Visions de l´amen for two pianos in 1943. Since then, she premiered and recorded all of Messiaen´s works featuring the piano. She also introduced Boulez´s second book of Structures and recorded the Barraqué´s Sonata and Boulez´s Second Sonata at a time when this kind of compositions were rarely performed. François Monceaux filmed a documentary on Loriod which was released in 2011.
Russian-German (Saint Petersburg, May 16, 1877 — Berlin, August 29, 1948)
Son of the renowned piano teacher Karl Lütschg, he was professor at the Chicago Musical College for a year and at the Hochshule für Musik in Berlin between 1920 and 1948. He achieved some reputation as a concert pianist.
German (1844 — 1931)
Pianist and teacher, he concertized extensively particularly in the San Francisco Bay area in the United States, where he had moved at the age of 15. Married four times, his third wife, Elsie Loane Mansfeldt, was supposedly to have been the first white woman to explore the Sahara. Mansfeldt was a friend of Arthur Friedheim, one of Liszt´s pupils and closest friends.
French (Clermont-Ferrand, July 16, 1816 — Paris, January 16, 1898)
Winner of the Premier Prix in 1832 at the Paris Conservatory, he taught there solfège first and then piano, succeeding his former teacher Pierre Zimmermann, a large number of famous pianists. His son Antonin-Emile-Louis Corbaz was also a pianist and became professor at the Conservatory. Marmontel published a number of books on music including Les pianistes célèbres, Histoire du piano et de ses origins and Virtuoses contemporains, and composed piano studies, sonatas and other piano works. He edited a large number of compositions for the Ecole classique du piano.
[See the Antoine-François Marmontel Tradition]
Martínez Imbert, Claudio
Spanish (Barcelona, 1845 — 1919)
Awarded in 1869 by the Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País for his Trio for violin, piano and cello, he performed with such figures as Monasterio, Sarasate and Planté. He composed numerous piano works including Danza campestre, Capricho español, La muñeca danzante and Melodía. His piano output was recorded by Ana Benavides for Bassus Ediciones in the collection Piano inédito español del siglo XIX and the scores edited for Piles in a volume of the same name.
German (Nienstädten, near Altona, July 23, 1806 — Altona, November 18, 1887)
Appointed Royal Music Director in 1875 in Hamburg, he was a respected and demanded teacher whose most famous pupil was Johannes Brahms, who dedicated to him his Second Piano Concerto. Marxsen not only taught Brahms the piano but also strict counterpoint and the works of Bach and Beethoven. He composed numerous piano works including the Fantasie “alla moda” über den Kaffee, based on the notes c-a-f-f-e-e, published the same year as Schumann´s Abegg Variations.
[See the Eduard Marxsen Tradition]
American (Boston, January 24, 1829 — New York, July 14, 1908)
Born into a family of composers, music publishers and instrument builders, he was the son of composer Lowell Mason and a protégé of Liszt. His recollections of Liszt´s Weimar life were published in 1901 as Memories of a Musical Life. With Theodore Thomas, he established the Mason and Thomas Chamber Music Soirées, which contributed to present Romantic works to the American public. Mason was likely one of the first pianists to perform without accompanying musicians, although he abandoned the stage to devote his life to teaching in New York. His pedagogical publications include A Method for the Piano-Forte, A System for Beginners, A System of Technical Exercises for the Piano-Forte and Touch and Technique, his most widely known work and which spread his famous “Mason touch”. He also composed over 50 virtuoso piano pieces.
German (Hamburg, February 3, 1809 — Leipzig, November 4, 1847)
One of the most astonishing and precocious prodigies in the history of music, he equally excelled as a pianist, organist, conductor and composer. His grandfather was the renowned philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, and his father owned a bank in Berlin. Both Mendelssohn and his sister Fanny showed an early and extraordinary talent for music, initially studying with Marie Bigot, a pianist admired by both Haydn and Beethoven. Mendelssohn enjoyed a cultural and educated upbringing, reading Caesar and Ovid, studying history, geography, arithmetic and French by the age of 12. He also was interested in the violin and painting. At the Sunday family “musicales” he performed, recited poems and theatre plays, presented his early compositions and met important Berlin personalities. His acquaintances and friends included Heine, Hegel, von Humboldt, Chopin, Kalkbrenner, Schumann and Wieck. He studied at the University of Berlin subjects such as legal history and aesthetics. He concertized and travelled widely including England, Wales, Scotland, the Hebrides Isles in the North, and Rome, Milan and the Isle of Capri in the South. He was Düsseldorf´s music director, and in Leipzig, he was the Gewandhaus Orchestra conductor and music director for 12 years, over which period he was involved in the city´s cultural life. He contributed to the foundation of the Leipzig Conservatory, which opened in 1843. In October 1847, he suffered a series of strokes and died shortly after. The pallbearers at his funeral included Schumann, Gade and Moscheles. He is buried in Berlin next to the grave of his sister Fanny, who had died only a few months before. A prolific composer in most genres, his piano output includes the 48 Lieder ohne Worte, Rondo capriccioso op. 14, Fantasia op. 28, Six Preludes and Fugues op. 35, Variations sérieuses op. 54, études, sonatas and piano concertos.
Armenian-Polish-Romanian (Chernivtsi, now in Ukraine, October 20, 1819 — Lviv, Ukraine, May 21, 1897)
One of the most famous Chopin´s pupils, he concertized in Austria, France, Italy and Russia. He taught at the Lviv Conservatory from 1858 to 1888 and, subsequently, he founded his own academy. He was a pioneer in the field of ethnomusicology, collecting and notating Romanian and Polish folk songs. His most important work is the 17-volume critical edition of Chopin´s piano works, published in Leipzig in 1879 and in the United States in 1895, and for which he used primary sources from Chopin. He composed a number of piano pieces, particularly noteworthy are his arrangements for piano of the 48 Airs nationaux roumains.
Mildner, Leopoldine Josefine “Poldi”
Austrian-Swedish-Argentinian (Vienna, July 27, 1913 — Buenos Aires, July 7, 2007)
Her orchestra performances include concerts with the Vienna Symphony and the Berlin Philharmonic under the baton of such conductors as Böhm, Celibidache, Furtwängler, Toscanini and Walter. She lived, performed and concertized in Austria, Germany, Sweden, United States and Argentina.
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 (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.
Mozart, Franz Xaver Wolfgang
Austrian (Vienna, July 26, 1791 — Carlsbad, July 29, 1844)
The sixth child and younger surviving son of Mozart and Constanze, he studied composition with Salieri, Vogler and Albrechtsberger, among others. Between 1819 and 1821 he toured extensively in Europe and in 1842 the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome named him “maestro compositore onorario”. His compositions range from the influence of his teacher Hummel to the style of Chopin and Liszt. They include a number of variations, piano concertos and polonaises.
English (Mansfield Woodhouse, England, January 27, 1937 — London, August 1, 1989)
A colossal pianist endowed with a phenomenal capacity for sight-reading music, he premiered works of Goehr and Maxwell Davies as well as his own compositions. In 1960 he received the Busoni Prize, and, in 1962, he won ex aequo with Ashkenazy the first prize at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Competition, and also the Liszt Prize in London. He played an extensive repertory covering most of the styles and including a substantial amount of 20th century music. Among his numerous recordings is the massive, four-hour long, Opus clavicembalisticum of Sorabji. He married pianist Brenda Lucas, with whom he frequently performed duets. Although many of his compositions remained unfinished, S. Atman published a compilation of his works in The Compositions of John Ogdon: A Catalogue. Since the 1970s, Ogdon suffered from schizophrenia and died at the age of 52.
French (Tarbes, January 23, 1936)
She gave her first public recital at the age of five and entered the Paris Conservatory when she was only 10. She has appeared with many orchestras in Europe and in the United States, also concertizing in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan and South Africa. Her recordings include monumental works such as Brahms´s Second Concerto, Liszt´s B minor Sonata, Rachmaninov´s Third Concerto and Ravel´s Gaspard de la nuit. In 2006, she retired from the concert stage due to back problems. Her BBC appearances include the performance of the complete Debussy Preludes.
Russian (Königsberg, now Kaliningrad, May 15, 1854 — Moscow, June 9, 1897)
Born into a family of musicians in East Prussia, he was one of the most influential piano teachers in Russia and his students brought the Russian tradition into the 20th century. He performed with Rachmaninov, premiered Arensky´s Piano Concerto and wrote numerous piano transcriptions which are regarded as fine as those of Liszt. In 1884, Tchaikovsky appointed him editor of his piano works. He wrote a Piano Concerto, which he premiered under Anton Rubinstein´s baton, who was the dedicatee of his Piano Trio in A major.
[See the Pavel Pabst Tradition]
Finnish (Björneborg, now Pori, February 16, 1878 — Helsinki, December 16, 1951)
Active as a pianist, conductor and composer, he led the Helsinki University Chorus and the Turku Musical Society orchestra. He toured in Europe and the USA, frequently accompanied by his first wife, the singer Maikki Järnefelt. He taught composition at the Eastman School and harmony and composition at the Sibelius Academy. He composed five piano concertos and the 24 Preludes among other works.
Born in Italy but educated in Germany, he became professor at the Santiago de Chile Conservatory, counting among his students the famous Claudio Arrau.
Austrian (Vienna, December 21, 1826 — Jugenheim, near Darmstadt, May 9, 1905)
Active as pianist, editor, teacher and writer, his mother came from the family of the renowned piano manufacturing company Streicher. He taught at the Royal Academy of Music, succeeding Cipriani Potter, and at the Royal College of Music in London since its foundation in 1876. His series of historical performances of harpsichord and piano music were a landmark in England´s musical life. He was interested and lectured on the history of keyboard music and pedagogy. As editor, he produced Old English Composers for the Virginal and Harpsichord, 12 books of Alte Klaviermusik, 65 issues of Alte Meister and Alte Tänze. He also edited works of Clementi, Moscheles, Mendelssohn and Liszt´s transcriptions of Schubert songs. He made arrangements for piano or piano duets of Beethoven and Schumann symphonies. He published a number of books on music such as The Art of Pianoforte Playing, The Elements of the Beautiful in Music, Musical Forms and a Dictionary of Pianists and Composers for the Pianoforte with an Appendix of Manufacturers of the Instrument. His son was the pianist Max von Pauer.
Austrian (Innsbruck, April 20, 1875 — Munich, October 12, 1950)
Son of the composer Josef Pembaur the Elder and married to the pianist Maria Elterich, with whom she performed two piano recitals, he was an active teacher and concert pianist. He was juror for the Ibach Prize in Berlin. He composed a handful of piano pieces.
Perez de Brambilla, Marie
French (Nice, November 30, 1841 — 1931)
A student of Anton Rubinstein, Clara Schumann and Theodore Ritter, who was a Liszt´s pupil, she was professor at the Marseille Conservatory.
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]
Portuguese-American (Lisbon, August 17, 1968)
He gave his first public performance at the age of three and appeared on public television at the age of four. He is a winner of the International Vianna da Motta Competition, Greater Palm Beach International Competition and Leeds International Competition. He has numerous recordings including works of Liszt, Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Milhaud and Rodrigo, and a two-piano program of Spanish music with Sequeira Costa, one of his teachers.
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]
French (Paris, December 16, 1782 — Gray, October 19, 1843)
Professor at the Paris Conservatory and director of the Toulouse Conservatoire from 1840 to 1841, Pradher composed some operas and piano music, including a concerto, sonatas and works for two pianos. He was a famed teacher and insisted on the independence of the fingers as a fundamental aspect of piano technique. He was piano teacher to the princesses at the court of Louis XVIII and Charles X.
[See the Louis Pradher Tradition]
Pueyo, Eduardo del
Spanish (Zaragoza, August 28, 1905 — Sint-Genesius-Rode, Belgium, November 9, 1986)
Awarded the Premio Nacional de Música in Spain in 1984, he was professor at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels and appointed Extraordinary Professor at the Chapel of Queen Elizabeth, with whom he sometimes performed privately. A milestone of his career was the performance of the complete Beethoven sonatas in his native city in 1964. Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinski were among his friends. He recorded for Philips, Fontana, Columbia and Harmonia Mundi. In a homage to del Pueyo, a concert hall and two city streets bear his name. He married twice, firstly with laud musician Adriana Mary and, subsequently, with Belgian painter Josette Smith.
Pujol, Juan Bautista
Spanish (Barcelona, March 22, 1835 — Barcelona, December 28, 1898)
One of the leading pianists and teachers in establishing the Catalonian piano tradition, he was of paramount importance in introducing new music to Barcelona audiences. He founded his private piano studio in Barcelona, the Academia Pujol, and in 1888 opened a publishing company, which printed works of Albéniz, Granados, de la Cinna and Pedrell. He also composed a number of salon pieces including his famous fantasia-mazurka Rosas y Perlas, fantasias on opera tunes of Meyerbeer´s L´Africaine and Gounod's Faust, and a Piano Concerto. He published a piano method titled Mecanismo del Piano around 1880.
[See the Juan Baustista Pujol Tradition]
German (Trebitsch, June 10, 1841 — Leipzig, April 11, 1911)
After studying philosophy at the University of Heidelberg, he studied music at the Leipzig Conservatory, where he also taught until the end of his life. He composed small piano pieces such as Two Sonatinas op. 24 and Two Nocturnes op. 1. His most famous student was Wilhelm Backhaus.
German (Königsberg, November 1, 1863 — Libau, October 3, 1907)
One of Liszt´s predilected students, he toured extensively in Russia, Siberia and China. In 1900, he became professor at the Leipzig Conservatory and also taught at the Sondershausen Conservatory in Thuringia. He composed some piano works including the Reisebilder op. 14. He recorded ten piano pieces for the Welte-Mignon player piano in 1905. Supposedly, he feared the public and sometimes appeared to be drunk on the stage.
Reisenberg Sherman, Nadia
Lithuanian-American (Vilnius, July 14, 1904 — New York, June 10, 1983)
After fleeing the USSR in 1920, she concertized in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany and the USA, where her debut took place in New York in 1922 playing Paderewski´s Fantaisie polonaise with the composer in the audience. She was active both as soloist and chamber musician, appearing with the Budapest Quartet. She premiered in America works by Shostakovich, Stravinsky and Schoenberg, among others. She taught at the Curtis Institute, Mannes College, Queens College, CUNY and Juilliard School. Her sister was the theremin player Clara Rockmore.
German (Altona, June 23, 1824 — Leipzig, March 10, 1910)
Active as pianist, composer, conductor, teacher, administrator and even as a painter and poet, he received a complete music instruction from his father J.P. Rudolf Reinecke. He was appointed court pianist in Copenhagen in 1846 and taught counterpoint and piano at Hiller´s conservatory in Cologne and at the Leipzig Conservatory, which he also directed and transformed into a top and famous school in Europe. In Leipzig, he also conducted the Gewandhaus Orchestra. As a composer, he wrote a substantial amount of works including piano sonatinas, exercises and four piano concertos and was remarkably noted in the “Hausmusik” style. He also wrote books and essays on music subjects.
[See the Carl Reinecke Tradition]
Renard, Rosita [Rosa Amelia Renard Artigas]
Chilean (Santiago, February 8, 1894 — Santiago, May 24, 1949)
The daughter of a Catalan immigrant, she was admired for her interpretations of Mozart, Chopin and Liszt, and her career in Europe was halted and remained undeveloped for the outbreak of World War I. Subsequently, she lived in Germany and in the USA, and taught at the DKG Institute of Musical Art in Rochester, New York. In 1930, she returned to Chile where she taught at the Santiago Conservatory. She played once at Carnegie Hall in 1949, which was recorded. Due to an incurable sleeping disease contracted after a mosquito bite, she refrained from performing again in public and died shortly after. Samuel Claro published her biography in Spanish in 1993. She married Czech singer Otto Stern and her younger sister, Blanca Renard, was also a world class pianist.
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.
Rey Colaço, Alexandre
Portuguese (Tangier, Morocco, April 30, 1854 — Lisbon, September 1, 1928)
Professor of princes D. Luís Filipe de Bragança and D. Manuel de Bragança, the last king of Portugal, his father was a French citizen born in Cyprus and his mother was half Spanish. He taught at the Hochshule für Musik in Berlin and at the Lisbon Conservatory, and remained committed and active in the cultural life of his country. As a composer, he was a pioneer in introducing Portuguese popular melodies into his music, for example in the collection of Fados, Bailarico, Jota and Malagueña. Educo Records released a recording of a selection of his piano output in 1985 featuring pianist Michael Habermann. He also published a collection of thoughts and reflections on music titled De Música. His daughter Amélia Rey Colaço became one of Portugal´s leading actresses.
French (Baden-Baden, February 23, 1873 — Paris, July 21, 1929)
Of Alsatian and German descent, he won the Premier Prix at the Paris Conservatory in 1889. He carried Liszt´s tradition into the 20th century French pianism through his studies with three of Liszt´s most important pupils, and also as an heir of Chopin via Émile Decombes. He worked in Bayreuth as a stage manager and vocal coach. He was admired as a Beethoven interpreter and offered his first complete cycle of the sonatas in Paris in 1905. He also played contemporary music and is the dedicatee of Dukas Piano Sonata. He enjoyed giving monographic recitals including Bach´s entire Well-tempered clavier and concerts featuring the works of Chopin. He made a piano version of Strauss´s Till Eulenspiegel and played in concert Liszt´s piano version of Berlioz´s Symphonie fantastique. He taught at the Paris Conservatory and produced acoustic recordings for Pathé around 1917.
[See the Edouard Risler Tradition]
French (April 5, 1840 — April 6, 1886)
Son of composer Eugène Prévost, his real name was Toussaint Prévost and initiated his career as baritone under the name of Félix. He toured in Canada and in the United States. He married singer Alice Desgranges and his niece Gabrielle Ritter-Ciampi also became a famous singer. As composer, he wrote numerous piano pieces and transcriptions such as Berlioz´s L´enfance du Christ and Roméo et Juliette.
Rivé-King [née Rivé], Julie
American (Cincinnati, October 31, 1854 — Indianapolis, July 24, 1937)
Married to her manager Frank H. King, she concertized in the United States and Canada performing a vast repertory including over 300 works by 75 composers. Piano firms such as Steinway, Chickering, Decker Brothers and Weber sponsored many of her concert tours. She taught at the Bush Conservatory in Chicago. Her husband published many of his compositions under her name.
American (New York, May 5, 1927 — New York, December 9, 2012)
A pianist, writer and intellectual, he studied at the Juilliard School between the ages of seven and eleven. His direct connection to Liszt through Rosenthal, to Chopin through Mikuli and to Leschetizky through Rosenthal´s wife Hedwig Kanner, convert him in a pianist who belongs to the Golden Age and a reference to the Romantic generation of pianism. Among his many interests were Romance languages, for which he earned a PhD from Princeton University and taught modern languages for a time at the MIT, and also mathematics, philosophy and literature. He produced the first-ever recording of the Debussy Études in 1951, and also recordings of such monumental works as the Goldberg Variations and The Art of the Fugue. He premiered works such as the Carter´s Concerto for piano and harpsichord and recorded Boulez´s sonatas, working closely with the composer. As an author, he published numerous books, articles and essays including The Classical Style, The Romantic Generation and Sonata Forms. He taught at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Polish (Lemberg, now L′viv, December 18, 1862 — New York, September 3, 1946)
Son of a mathematics professor, he inherited the pianism of Chopin through Mikuli, with whom he performed Chopin´s Rondo in C major for two pianos, and of Liszt, through Joseffy and Liszt himself, with whom he studied for nine years. During this time, Rosenthal also earned a degree in philosophy at the University of Vienna. His circle of friends included Brahms, Anton Rubinstein, Saint-Saëns, Massenet and Albéniz. He toured in the USA with Kreisler and taught privately in New York. He left about four hours of recordings and composed piano works including paraphrases on Johann Strauss´s works. Ullstein Verlag published his editions of Liszt´s works. He married Hungarian pianist and Leschetizky´s student Hedwig Kanner.
Russian (Vikhvatintsï, Ukraine, November 16 or 28, 1829 — Peterhof, now Petrodvoret, November 8 or 20, 1894)
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]
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]
German (Berlin, January 18, 1840 — Berlin, December 31, 1916)
Pianist, conductor, composer and teacher, he was born into a cultural and intellectual family. His mother was a friend of Mendelssohn and his father a law professor. Besides music, he studied theology and history. He taught at the Cologne Conservatory and at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik and succeeded Bruch as conductor of the Stern Choral Society. He was a close friend of Clara Schumann, who also taught him for a short period. He produced a number of piano compositions including the Fantasie op. 14, Romanzen op. 48 and the Impromptu op. 51. He was a member of the editorial committee of Denkmäler Deutscher Tonkunst.
Italian (Naples, October 13, 1856 — New York, October 27, 1932)
Pianist, composer and singer, she enjoyed a successful concert career as an exponent of the Neapolitan school of pianism. She lived and taught in New York. Her compositions include a Piano Concerto, Allegro Appassionato and some chamber music works. Her father was Michele Ruta, director of the Naples Conservatory, and her mother was the English singer Emilia Sutton.
Italian (Caserta, February 7, 1816 — Naples, 24 January 1896)
Composer, pianist and director of the Naples Conservatory. He composed operas, among other works, and pedagogical works. He was active as a writer and music critic and founder the journal La musica in 1855. He married the English singer Emilia Sutton. His daughter was the pianist Gilda Ruta.
Samaroff [née Hickenlooper], Olga
American (San Antonio, United States, August 8, 1882 — New York, May 17, 1948)
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 with 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. She published The Layman´s Music Book and was married to Leopold Stokowski between 1911 and 1923.
[See the Olga Samaroff Tradition]
French (Paris, October 9, 1835 — Algiers, December 16, 1921)
Described by Gounod as the “French Beethoven”, he was a child prodigy and became a virtuoso pianist and organist admired by Liszt, Gounod, Rossini and Berlioz. His official debut took place at the Salle Pleyel at the age of ten performing from memory Beethoven´s Third Piano Concerto and Mozart´s Piano Concerto K. 450, for which he played a cadenza of his own. His concert tours took him to South America, United States, East Asia, Canary Islands, Scandinavia, Africa and Russia, where he met Tchaikovsky. His output covered all genres including a dozen operas, five piano concertos, chamber music works and numerous other brilliant pieces such as the etudes opp. 52, 111 and 135, Suite and Vals nonchalante. He edited a number of works from the French harpsichord repertoire and pieces by Liszt and Mozart. His broad interests included the French classics, religion, Latin and Greek, mathematics and natural sciences.
Sauer, Emil [von]
German (Hamburg, October 8, 1862 — Vienna, April 27, 1942)
Active as a pianist, teacher and composer, he received his first instruction from his Scottish mother. He taught at the Vienna Conservatory influencing many world-class pianists. In 1917, Sauer added the “von” to his name after the Austrian Emperor ennobled him. His compositions include two piano concertos, two sonatas and a number of other virtuoso pieces. He produced a few recordings such as Liszt´s both piano concertos. Peters published a substantial amount of his editions. Sauer wrote an autobiography titled Meine Welt. His second wife was the Mexican pianist Angelica Morales.
[See the Emil von Sauer 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]
German (Erlenbach am Main, August 26, 1788 — Frankfurt am Main, July 25, 1866)
Pianist, composer and teacher, he received his early musical instruction from his father, who was an organist. He was appointed Chamber Music Composer in Munich in 1850 and received an honorary doctorate from the Giessen University. His compositions include a number of piano exercises such as the Preparatory Exercises op. 16 as well as piano concertos, piano trios and the Rondo Concertant op. 48.
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.
American (Born in 1937)
He is active a recitalist, adjudicator and lecturer, and published study guides on Brahms, Albéniz and Rachmaninov as well as a critical edition of Albéniz´s Suite Iberia. He recorded for the Elan label.
Schumann [née Wieck], Clara
German (Leipzig, September 13, 1819 — Frankfurt, May 20, 1896)
One of the greatest and most influential concert pianists of all time and admired by Paganini, Chopin and Liszt, she was Robert Schumann´s wife and contributed to promote her husband´s music by performing and editing it. Her father and teacher was Friedrich Wieck, who not only taught her the piano but supervised her career and general education until her late teens. Her mother Marianne came from a family of musicians and was an accomplished singer and pianist herself. Clara concertized all over Europe, travelling to the British Isles over 19 times, not only performing but acting as her own manager. She was regarded as a piano equal to Liszt, Thalberg and Anton Rubinstein and was known in Europe as the “Queen of the Piano”, with a career lasting for about 60 years. She was one of the pioneers in performing from memory, without assisting artists, a with a detailed attention to the music text, designing shorter concert programs in order to keep the audience´s attention. Her compositions include a Piano Concerto in F, Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann, Impromptus, Trois Romances and Souvenir de Vienne. She edited the works of Robert Schumann and arranged works of Brahms and Sterndale Bennett for piano. Composer and conductor Woldemar Bargiel was Clara´s half-brother.
[See the Schumann/Wieck Tradition]
Alsatian (Kaysersberg, Upper Alsace, January 14, 1875 — Lambaréné, Gabon, September 4, 1965)
Organist and musicologist, he also studied theology, philosophy and medicine. He pursued an in-depth study of organs and organ building and wrote about authentic historical performance of the works of Bach. He published a fundamental edition of Bach´s complete organ works. He was part of the circle of friends of Cosima and Siegfried Wagner. He founded a hospital in 1913 in Lambaréné, in Africa.
Italian (Rome, May 28, 1841 — Rome, December 14, 1914)
Pianist, composer and conductor, he was a key figure in the late 19th century reemergence of non-operatic music in Italy. He gave his first public recital at the age of six and started composing shortly after. He was a protégé and close friend of Liszt and met Anton Rubinstein and Richard Wagner. In Rome, he co-founded the Liceo Musicale di Santa Cecilia, which was to become the Rome Conservatory. His piano works include a Piano Concerto, a Prelude and Fugue and a Suite.
[See the Giovanni Sgambati Tradition]
American (Born in 1942)
His appearances as soloist include the Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Berlin orchestras, and as a conductor and pianist-conductor, the Pittsburg and Saint Louis symphonies. His series of Keyboard Conversations have been in high demand for decades in the United States. He was music director and conductor for the Mainly Mozart Festival in Arizona and recorded Gershwin´s complete works for piano and orchestra.
Ukrainian (Kharkiv, September 27 or October 9, 1863 — New York, December 8, 1945)
Gold Medal in 1881 at the Moscow Conservatory, his composition teachers included Taneyev and Tchaikovsky, for whom he worked as editor on the first and second piano concertos. His musical activities were broad and included the co-foundation of the Liszt-Verein in Leipzig, direction of the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra and the position of intendant at the Mariinsky Theatre. He also directed the renowned Siloti Concerts in St. Petersburg, at which he introduced such figures as Casals, Hofmann and Landowska and premiered works of Debussy, Rachmaninov and Scriabin, among many others. He published over 200 piano arrangements and transcriptions, made 8 piano roll recordings and wrote a book on reminiscences of Liszt in 1911.
[See the Alexander Siloti Tradition]
Professor of piano of Ferenc Bräuer.
American (Vienna, Austria, 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.
German (Greiz, November 24, 1862 — Geneva, December 25, 1914)
Pianist, conductor and composer and one of Liszt´s favorite pupils at the end of his life. Stavenhagen performed Liszt´s First Piano Concerto at his debut concert in London, with Liszt in the audience. He concertized in Europe, Russia and North America with great acclaim. He held positions for the Grand Duke of Weimar, for the Hofoper and as Kapellmeister at the court in Munich. He produced a few piano roll recordings and composed piano works including the Concerto in B minor op. 4.
[See the Bernhard Stavenhagen Tradition]
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.
Hungarian (Szarvas, August 11, 1863 — Budapest, September 10, 1922)
A pianist in the great Lisztian tradition, he published educational piano works as well as editions of standard repertoire, including Czerny´s School of Finger Dexterity, used in Hungary for many decades.
Polish (Prague, 1820 — Warsaw, March 14, 1885)
A competent professional pianist and student of Sigismond Thalberg, he was the father of Carl Tausig and his first piano teacher.
Polish (Warsaw, November 4, 1841 — Leipzig, July 17, 1871)
One of Liszt´s favorite pupils, who described him as having an “infallible” technique and possessing “fingers of steel”. Tausig also studied counterpoint, composition and instrumentation with the Hungarian master, and accompanied him while touring. His public debut was at a concert conducted by Hans von Bülow in Berlin in 1858. He had a vast repertoire which he could play from memory. He composed a number of piano pieces including Tarantelle and Etudes de concert, and also transcribed, arranged and edited a handful of other works. His Tägliche studien are of great value. He married pianist Seraphine von Vrabely. Tausig died of typhoid before he turned 30 years of age.
German or Austrian (Pâquis, near Geneva, January 8, 1812 — Posillipo, near Naples, April 27, 1871)
Pianist and composer, he was next to Franz Liszt the greatest virtuoso of the mid-nineteenth century in Europe. He played almost exclusively his own compositions, which were mainly fantasias based on opera themes by Rossini, Meyerbeer, Donizetti and Verdi. Although he initially went to Vienna to study for diplomatic service, he became a touring and successful pianist, travelling all over Europe, Brazil, Havana and the United States, where he lived and taught for a few years. His “three-hand effect” technique became very popular. His didactic work L´art du chant appliqué au piano reveals Thalberg´s ability to combine the brilliance of the execution with his preoccupation with imbuing the bel canto into his playing. He married the daughter of Luigi Lablache, an opera singer. He spent his last few years in a villa in Italy as a viticulturist.
[See the Sigismond Thalberg Tradition]
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]
Tintorer y Segarra, Pedro
Spanish (Palma de Mallorca, February 12, 1814 — Barcelona, March 11, 1891)
Pianist, composer and teacher, he wrote salon piano pieces such as Suspiros de un trovador and Flor de España, and pedagogical works including Douze grandes études de mécanisme et de style, Curso completo de piano and Gimnasia diaria del pianista, in which he recommended the use of the “hand guide” of Friedrich Kalkbrenner. He was a key figure in establishing the Catalonian piano tradition through his students Claudio Martínez Imbert and Juan Bautista Pujol.
[See the Pedro Tintorer Tradition]
Vianna da Motta, José
Portuguese (Santo Tomé, April 22, 1868 — Lisbon, June 1, 1948)
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. He succeeded Bernhard Stavenhagen as professor at the Geneva Conservatory.
[See the Vianna da Motta Tradition]
German (Pretzsch, near Torgau, August 18, 1785 — Loschwitz, near Dresden, October 6, 1873)
An important teacher and education specialist, his daughter was the famous pianist Clara Wieck, whom he trained and who married Robert Schumann. He pursued theological studies, but his interest in education and music became more profound after his collaboration with piano teacher Adolph Bargiel. He was mainly focused on elementary piano instruction, based on playing without notation during the first steps of the learning process. He also taught Italian vocal technique and was involved in instrument sales and a music lending library business. His pedagogical work Klavier und Gesang summarizes his teaching principles.
[See the Schuman/Wieck Tradition]
Polish (Lublin, May 23, 1837 — Brussels, November 11, 1912)
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 (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)
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.
© 2021, by Daniel Pereira