The Alexander Villoing Tradition

Piano Traditions Through Their Genealogy Trees

© 2021, by Daniel Pereira

Doctor of Musical Arts |


Abos, Girolamo

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

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


Albrechtsberger, Johann George

Austrian (Klosterneuburg, February 3, 1736 — Vienna, March 7, 1809)

J.G. AlbrecBaronihtsberger was a composer, teacher, theorist and a prestigious organist. He was appointed Kapellmeister in 1793, the highest ranked position for a musician in the empire. Albrechtsberger was a friend of Mozart´s, and Haydn sent Beethoven to study with him between 1794 and 1795. He produced internationally recognized treatises on composition and figured bass. Among his works, there are 278 keyboard compositions.


Arriola, Pepito

Spanish (Betanzos, December 14, 1895 — Barcelona, October 24, 1954)

José Rodríguez Carballeira, known as Pepito Arriola, was a pianist, violinist and composer and a child prodigy. Queen María Cristina became his patron and sponsored Arriola´s studies. In 1902, Arriola and his mother moved to Germany, where he studied with Richard Strauss and appeared with the Berlin Philharmonic under Arthur Nikisch. Arriola concertized around the world, including the U.S., appearing at the Metropolitan and Carnegie Hall in New York, and an extensive tour in Cuba. His compositions include Impresiones argentinas, Homenaje a Manuel de Falla and Divertimento concertante for two pianos and string orchestra with flute.


Athanasiu-Gardeev, Esmeralda

Romanian (Galati, 1834 — Bucharest, 1917)

Esmeralda Athanasiu-Gardeev was a pianist and composer. She studied piano in Bucharest and in Paris with Julius Schulhoff, and composition in Saint Petersburg with Anton Rubinstein. Her second husband was the Russian General Gardeev. She met George Sand, Sophie Menter and Anton Rubinstein. She composed Romanian March op. 1, Scherzo and Rumänisches Charakterstück op. 44 among other works.


Barere, Simon

Ukrainian-American (Odessa, September 1, 1896 — New York, April 2, 1951)

Simon Barere was a pianist. He received his first music lessons from his elder brothers. Barere lost his father at the age of 11 and contributed to support his family by playing in silent films, night-clubs and restaurants. He studied at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory with Anna Essipova and Felix Blumenfeld. He taught at the Kiev Conservatory and concertized extensively. He lived in Riga, Berlin, Sweden and in 1936 he settled in the United States. Barere died after he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage while performing Grieg´s Piano Concerto at Carnegie Hall in New York. He made numerous recordings for HMV.


Baroni, Antonio

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

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


Bashkirov, Dmitry

Russian (Tbilisi, November 1, 1931 — Madrid, March 7, 2021)

Dmitry Bashkirov was a pianist. He studied with Anastasia Virsaladze at the Tbilisi Conservatory and with Alexander Goldenweiser at the Moscow Conservatory, where he was appointed professor in 1957. He was awarded at the 1955 Long-Thibaud Competition. Bashkirov founded a trio with Igor Bezrodny and Mikhail Komnitzer. In 1991, he was appointed professor at the Queen Sofia Music School in Madrid. Among his students were Dmitri Alexeev, Arcadi Volodos, Nikolai Demidenko, Boris Bloch and Bashkirov´s own daughter Elena Bashkirova. He made numerous recordings for Melodiya, Harmonia Mundi and Erato.


Blye, Birdice

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. 


Bloomfield Zeisler [née Blumenfeld], Fannie

Austrian-American (Bielitz, Austria, July 16, 1863 — Chicago, August 20, 1927)

Fannie Bloomfield was a pianist and teacher. She received her first piano lessons from her brother. Her family moved to the United States in 1867, where she studied with Bernhard Ziehn and Carl Wolfsohn. Subsequently, Bloomfield studied at the Vienna Conservatory with Anna Essipova and with Leschetizky. She concertized extensively in Europe and North America. She taught at the Bush Temple of Music in Chicago and also privately. In 1885, she married the lawyer Sigmund Zeisler. Bloomfield made a number of Ampico and Welte-Mignon piano roll recordings.


Carreño, Teresa

Venezuelan (Caracas, Venezuela, December 22, 1853 — New York, June 12, 1917)

Teresa Carreño was a pianist, composer and singer. Both her grandfather and father were musicians, and she received her early musical training with the latter. In 1862, the family moved to New York City, where Carreño made her debut when she was eight years old. She also lived in Paris and Boston, and concertized with great acclaim in Europe, Australia, Africa, South America and in the United States. She championed the works of American composers, particularly the music of Edward MacDowell. Carreño also appeared on occasion as an opera singer. She composed about 80 works including the Marche triomphale op. 8, Ballade op. 15 and Vals Gayo op. 38. Carreño recorded a number of piano rolls for Welte-Mignon and Duo-Art in 1905 and 1914, respectively. She married four times: the violinist Emile Sauret, the baritone Giovanni Tagliapietra, and later his brother Arturo Tagliapietra, and the pianist Eugen d´Albert. Among the pallbearers at her funeral were Paderewski, Hutcheson and Elman.


Chasins, Abram

American (New York, August 17, 1903 — New York, June 21, 1987)

Abram Chasins was a pianist, composer, writer and broadcaster on music. He studied at such prestigious schools as Juilliard, Columbia University and Curtis, where he also taught from 1926 to 1935. After concertizing for two decades, he became director of WQXR. His work at this radio station helped him to win a Peabody Award. He also was musician-in-residence at the University of Southern California. Chasins composed over 100 piano pieces, including Three Chinese Pieces and the 24 Preludes. He published Speaking of Pianists, Van Cliburn and Leopold Stokowski biographies, and Music at the Crossroads, a criticism of American universities for underpreparing music students for the real world.


Cherkassky, Shura

Russian-American (Odessa, October 7, 1909 — London, December 27, 1995)

Shura Cherkassky was a pianist and a child prodigy. He moved to America in 1923 to study with Hofmann at the Curtis Institute. After World War II, he settled in London. Among his repertoire, there were less frequently performed composers such as Boulez, Stockhausen, Hindemith, Ives, Ligeti and Berg. He made his first recording in 1926.


Ciampi, Marcel

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.


Clementi, Muzio

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]


Demyansky, Vladimir

Russian (August 10, 1846 — Saint Petersburg, October 26, 1915)

Vladimir Demyansky was a pianist. He studied with Gustav Kroos and was one of the teachers of young Sergei Rachmaninov.


Dluski, Erazm

Polish (Szczuczyńce, Podolia, 1857 — Otwock, February 26, 1923)

Erazm Dluski was a pianist, composer, conductor and teacher. He studied at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory with Anton Rubinstein. He taught at the Warsaw Conservatory. Dluski composed two piano sonatas among other works.


Dubuque, Alexander

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

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

[See the Alexander Dubuque Tradition]


Elorduy, Ernesto

Mexican (Mexico City, December 11, 1853 — Mexico City, January 6, 1913)

Ernesto Elorduy was a pianist and composer. For a period of 20 years, he lived in Europe, where he studied with Clara Schumann and briefly with Anton Rubinstein. He worked as a Mexican consul in Marseilles, Santander and Barcelona. In 1891, he returned to Mexico, where he taught at the Conservatory from 1901 to 1906. Elorduy wrote about 100 piano miniatures including A orillas del Elba, Serenata árabe, Danzas habaneras, mazurkas, berceuses and songs without words.


Essipova, Anna Nikolayevna

Russian (Saint Petersburg, February 12, 1851 – Saint Petersburg, August 18, 1914)

Anna Essipova was a pianist and teacher. She studied at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory with Leschetizky, whom she married in 1880. In 1885, she was appointed pianist to the Russian court. She concertized with great success and taught at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. Prokofiev, Yudina and Borovsky were among her pupils. Essipova made a number of piano rolls recordings in the early 1900s.


Fago, Lorenzo 

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

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


Field, John

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

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

[See the John Field Tradition]


Friedheim, Arthur

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.


Gabrilowitsch, Ossip

Russian-American (Saint Petersburg, February 7, 1878 — Detroit, September 14, 1936)

Ossip Grabrilowitsch was a pianist, conductor and composer of Russian descent. His teachers included Anton Rubinstein at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory and Theodor Leschetizky in Vienna. He conducted the Munich Konzertverein for a few years and, in 1914, he settled in the United States, where he became conductor of the Detroit Symphony. He married Mark Twain´s daughter, the contralto Clara Clemens, with whom he often performed.


Gebel, Franz Xaver

German (Fürstenau, 1787 — Moscow, May 3, 1843)

Franz Xaver Gebel was a composer. He studied with Abbé Vogler and Albrechtsberger and was a friend of Beethoven. He settled in Moscow in 1817 and had an important impact on the city´s musical life. He composed sonatinas, variations and fantasias for piano.


Gutiérrez, Horacio

Cuban-American (Havana, August 28, 1948)

Horacio Gutiérrez is a pianist. He was a child prodigy and performed his debut at the age of 11 with the Havana Symphony Orchestra. The family moved to the United States when he was 13 years old. He studied in Los Angeles with Sergei Tarnowsky and at the Juilliard School in New York with Adele Marcus. In 1970, he won the second prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. He teaches at Manhattan School of Music. He married pianist Patricia Asher. Gutiérrez suffers from bursitis.


Hambourg, Mark

Russian (Boguchar, June 12, 1879 — Cambridge, August 26, 1960)

Mark Hambourg was a pianist and composer. His first teacher was his father, Michael Hambourg. Subsequently, he studied with Leschetizky. Among his pupils was Gerald Moore. He published his memoirs in two books, From Piano to Forte and The Eighth Octave, and How to Play the Piano. Hambourg composed Variations on a theme by Paganini, among other works.


Hambourg, Michael

Russian (Yaroslav, July 24, 1855 — Toronto, June 18, 1916)

Michael Hambourg was a pianist and teacher. He was a pupil of both Nikolay Rubinstein and Sergei Taneyev at the Saint Petersburg and Moscow conservatories. He taught at the latter from 1880 to 1890, when his family emigrated to London, where he taught at the GSM. In 1910, he emigrated to Canada where he founded the Hambourg Conservatory in Toronto. Among his pupils was Gerald Moore. His son Mark was a pianist and composer.


Hauser, Richard

Austrian (Vienna, December 31, 1909 — Vienna, July 17, 1970)

Richard Hauser was a pianist and teacher. He studied with Josef Hofmann, Norbert Kahrer, Paul Weingarten and Emil von Sauer. He also studied with theory and composition with Arnold Schönberg and Anton Webern. Hauser taught at the Vienna Conservatory. Among his students were Mitsuko Uchida and Heinz Medjimorec.


Hofmann, Josef

Polish-American (Kraków, January 20, 1876 — Los Angeles, February 16, 1957)

Josef Hofmann was a pianist, composer and inventor. He was a child prodigy, not only in music but in history, mathematics, science and mechanics. He took a few lessons from Moritz Moszkowski and, subsequently, with Anton Rubinstein, who deeply influenced him. In 1926, he was appointed director of the Curtis Institute. He retired from the concert platform in New York in 1946. He was the dedicatee of Rachmaninov´s Third Piano Concerto, which he never played. Hofmann was the first professional musician ever to record. He made a few cylinders at Edison´s laboratory in New Jersey in 1887. As a composer, he wrote over 100 pieces, mostly under the pseudonym Michel Dvorsky. Hofmann also patented about 70 scientific and mechanical artifacts. He published Piano Playing and Piano Questions Answered. His father was the Polish pianist, conductor and teacher Kazimierz Hofmann. His mother was a singer of light operas.


Horowitz, Vladimir

Ukrainian-American (Kiev, October 1, 1903 — New York, November 5, 1989)

Vladimir Horowitz was a pianist. He received his first music lessons from his mother. At the age of nine, he entered the Kiev Conservatory to study with Vladimir Puchalsky, Sergei Tarnowsky and Felix Blumenfeld. Horowitz left the USSR in 1925 and concertized extensively. He abandoned the concert stage during four different periods (the longest was between 1953 and 1965). Between 1975 and 1985, he was severely medicated which seriously affected his performance, but he was able to recuperate and give his best at the piano during the last years of his life. He married Arturo Toscanini´s daughter, Wanda, in 1933. Horowitz died suddenly at home from a heart attack.


Jedliczka, Ernst

Russian-German (Poltava, May 24, 1855 — Berlin, August 3, 1904)

Ernst Jedliczka was a pianist, pedagogue and critic. His father was the composer Alois Jedliczka. He studied with Anton and Nikolay Rubinstein and Karl Klindworth at the Moscow Conservatory, where he taught from 1880 to 1887. He also taught at the Klindworth-Scharwenka and Stern conservatories in Berlin. Arthur Nevin and Olga Samaroff were among his students.


Jonás, Alberto 

Spanish (Madrid, June 8, 1868 — Philadelphia, November 10, 1943)

Alberto Jonás was a pianist, composer and pedagogue of German descent. He performed for king Alfonso XII of Spain as a child. During the 1920s and 30s, he became a famous and reputed teacher. After graduating from the Madrid Conservatory at the age of 12, he travelled for a few years and lived in Belgium, England, Germany and France, and became a polyglot. In Brussels, he studied with Arthur de Greef, a pupil of Lsizt. He also studied with Anton Rubinstein in Saint Petersburg for three years. While in Russia, he also took a few lessons from Paderewski. He performed his debut concert in Germany with the Berlin Philharmonic and Hans von Bülow. He taught at the University of Michigan in the U.S., at the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory in Berlin and at Combs College in Philadelphia. He married German pianist Elsa von Grave and later American pianist Henrietta Gremmel. After exchanging a large amount of correspondence with many great pianists of his time, Jonás compiled and published the vast Master School of Modern Piano Playing and Virtuosity, published between 1922 and 1929 in seven volumes. Collaborators included Friedheim, Friedman, Safonov, Busoni, Godowsky, Cortot, Ganz, Backhaus, Lhévinne, Philipp and Sauer.


Jonas, Maryla

Polish (Warsaw, May 31, 1911 — July 3, 1959)

Maryla Jonas was a pianist. She studied with Paderewski. During the invasion of Poland, Jonas was detained. Upon her release, she walked hundreds of miles to Berlin in order to obtain documents to travel to Brazil. This trip on foot under inhumane circumstances deeply affecter her health. She lived in Brazil for a time and finally settled in the United States, where she played at Carnegie Hall in 1946. She died at the age of 48.  


Kreutzer, Leonid

Russian (Saint Petersburg, March 13, 1884 — Tokyo, October 30, 1953)

Leonid Kreutzer was a pianist and teacher. He studied with Anna Essipova at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. He taught at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin where his students included Karl-Ulrich Schnabel and Wladyslaw Szpilman. In 1935, he settled in Japan where he taught and concertized. Kreutzer published Das normale Klavierpedal and edited works by Chopin and Liszt.


Kross, Gustav

Russian (Saint Petersburg, July 12, 1831 — Saint Petersburg, October 25, 1885)

Gustav Kross was a pianist and teacher. He studied with Anton Rubinstein and Adolph von Henselt at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, where he taught since 1867. Vladimir Demyansky and Anna Ornatskaya were among his students.

He gave the first Russian performances of Tchaikovsky´s First Piano Concerto and Liszt´s Concerto no. 2.


Martini, Padre Giovanni Battista

Italian (Bologna, April 24, 1706 — Bologna, August 3, 1784)

Padre Martini was one of the most influential and renowned musicians of the 18th century. Ordained a priest in 1729, he taught counterpoint to numerous pupils who became famous composers, including J.C. Bach, Mozart, Grétry and Jommelli. According to historian Charles Burney, Martini gathered a colossal library of approximately 17,000 volumes. He maintained correspondence with such prominent figures as Agricola, Locatelli, Marpurg, Metastasio, Quantz and Rameau. Martini composed a number of sonatas and concertos for the keyboard, among other works.


Moore, Gerald

English (Watford, July 30, 1899 — Penn, United Kingdom, March 13, 1987)

Gerald Moore was a pianist. He received his first piano lessons from Wallis Bandey. In 1913, his family moved to Canada where he studied with Michael Hambourg and, upon his return to England in 1919, with his son Mark Hambourg. He became a much after-sought accompanist and performed with virtually all the major artists of his time. He published Singer and Accompanist, Am I Too Loud? Memoirs of an Accompanist and The Unashamed Accompanist. Moore made numerous recordings for HMV.


Ornatskaya, Anna


Anna Ornatskaya was a pianist and teacher. She studied with Gustav Kross and taught the young Sergei Rachmaninov.


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.


Perkins, Walton

American (Rome, New York, November 16, 1847 — Chicago, February 8, 1929)

Walton Perkins was a pianist and educator. He studied with S.B. Mills, Alfred H. Pease, Theodor Kullak and Anton Rubinstein. In Chicago, he helped William Sherwood in the foundation of the Sherwood School of Music in 1897. From 1907, he was the president of the Chicago Conservatory of Music. He composed a number of piano works.


Pouishnov, Leo

Ukrainian-British (Kiev or Odessa, October 11, 1891 — London, May 28, 1959)

Leo Pouishnov was a pianist and composer. He studied at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory with Anna Essipova. He frequently performed with violinist Leopold Auer. In 1920, he moved to London where he settled for the rest of his life. Pouishnov concertized throughout the world and made numerous recordings, particularly of the music of Chopin and Liszt. His recording of Schubert´s Sonata in G major D 894 was amongst the earliest of the work in 1928.


Prokofiev, Sergei  

Russian (Sontsovka, Donetsk region, now Ukraine, April 27, 1891 — Moscow, March 5, 1953)

Sergei Prokofiev was a pianist, conductor and composer. His mother studied the piano for a period of time at the Moscow Conservatory. He studied with pianist and composer Reinhold Glière. Subsequently, he studied at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory with Alexander Winkler and with Anna Essipova. Prokofiev lived in the United States and Paris before returning to Russia in 1936. He married Spanish singer Carolina Codina in 1933, and poet and librettist Mira Mendelson in 1948. Prokofiev composed 5 piano concertos, 9 sonatas, Sarcasms, Visions fugitives and Pensées, among many other works.


Rachmaninov, Sergei

Russian (Oneg, April 1, 1873 — Beverly Hills, March 28, 1943)

Sergei Rachmaninov was a pianist, conductor and composer. The dates on his tomb show his birthdate as April 2. He received his first piano lessons from his mother and then from Anna Ornatskaya, a former student of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. Rachmaninov´s family moved to Saint Petersburg, where he attended the conservatory and studied under Vladimir Demyansky. Subsequently, he was a pupil of Zverev and also of his cousin Siloti at the Moscow Conservatory. As the Revolution of 1917 approached and turmoil grew, Rachmaninov and his family left Russia and would never return. He lived in Stockholm and Copenhagen, and finally settled in the United States in 1918. He suffered from lumbago, arthritis and extreme fatigue. Rachmaninov performed his last concert in Knoxville and, shortly after, died from cancer. Rachmaninov produced a significant piano output including four piano concertos, Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini, collections of preludes and études-tableaux, Variations on a theme by Chopin and six Moments musicaux.


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.


Rubinstein, Anton

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]


Rubinstein, Nikolay

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

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

[See the Nikolay Rubinstein Tradition]


Samaroff [née Hickenlooper], Olga

American (San Antonio, United States, August 8, 1882 — New York, May 17, 1948)

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]


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]


Schnabel, Karl Ulrich Schnabel

Austrian (Berlin, August 6, 1909 — Danbury, CT, United States, August 27, 2001)

Karl Ulrich Schnabel was a pianist. His father was pianist Artur Schnabel and his mother the soprano Therese Behr. He studied with Leonid Kreutzer. He married American pianist Helen Fogel with whom he played piano duets. Karl Ulrich Schnabel numerous of recordings including Schubert duets with his father. He published Modern Technique of the Pedal in 1950. He taught at the Manhattan School of Music from 1985 to 2000. His students include Leon Fleisher, Claude Frank and Murray Perahia.

[See the Karl Ulrich Schnabel Tradition]


Siloti, Alexander

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]


Sliwiński, Józef

Polish (Warsaw, December 15, 1865 — Warsaw, March 4, 1930)

Józef Sliwiński was a pianist, conductor and teacher. His father was the organist of the Warsaw Cathedral. His first piano lessons were under Juliusz Janotha and Kazimierz Hofman. He also studied with Leschetizky in Vienna, with Anton Rubinstein in Saint Petersburg and also with Karol Mikuli, particularly the works of Chopin. He performed in America on three different tours. He directed the Saratov Conservatory in Russian. He made a number of piano rolls in Leipzig, predominantly with the music of Chopin.


Sobrino Rivas, Carlos

Spanish (Pontevedra, February 25, 1861 — London, January 17, 1927)

Carlos Sobrino was a pianist. He began to study Architecture in Madrid but abandoned his studies to immerse himself in music. He lived in New York for 14 years and then settled in London in 1898. He concertized in Europe and in the United States. In 1905, he was appointed professor at the Royal Guildhall School of Music in London. He performed with such renowned musicians as Pablo de Sarasate and Adelina Patti. He married Louise Smith, a Covent Garden German soprano.


Tarnowsky, Sergei

Russian (Kharkiv, November 3, 1883 — Los Angeles, March 22, 1976)

Sergei Tarnowsky was a pianist and teacher. He studied with Henryk Bobinski and Anna Essipova. Subsequently, he taught at the Kiev Conservatory where Vladimir Horowitz, Alexander Uninsky and Vladimir Yampolsky were among his pupils. Tarnowsky emigrated to the United States in 1930 where he was appointed professor at the DePaul University in Chicago. In the U.S. he performed with Nathan Milstein, Raya Garbousova and William Primrose. He married Alexander Glazunov´s daughter and later one of his students, Maxine Matlavish, and settled in California, where Horacio Gutiérrez was among his students.


Uchida, Mitsuko

Japanese (Atami, near Tokyo, December 20, 1948)

Mitsuko Uchida is a pianist. She moved to Vienna at the age of 12. She studied with Richard Hauser, Wilhelm Kempff and Stefan Askenase. She was awarded at the Leeds International Piano Competition, Beethoven Competition and Chopin Competition. She is a major performer of the Classical composers and has offered complete cycles of the Mozart sonatas and concerti. In 2009, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She records exclusively for Decca.


Uninsky, Alexander

Ukrainian-American (Kyiv, February 2, 1910 — Dallas, Texas, December 19, 1972)

Alexander Uninsky was a pianist of Polish, Russian and Ukrainian descent. He studied at the Kiev Conservatory with Sergei Tarnowsky and at the Paris Conservatoire with Lazare Lévy. He was awarded first prize at the 2nd International Chopin Competition in 1932, after a draw which was resolved by the tossing of a coin. He joined the French Army during the World War II and later emigrated to South America where he performed extensively. In the early 40s, he moved to the United States and, in 1955, he became a professor at the Conservatory of Toronto in Canada and also taught at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He made numerous recordings, particularly of the music of Chopin.


Vengerova, Isabelle

Russian-American (Minsk, March 1, 1877 — New York, February 7, 1956)

Isabelle Vengerova was a pianist and teacher. She studied with Joseph Dachs at the Vienna Conservatory and, privately, with Theodor Leschetizky. She was also a pupil of Anna Essipova in Saint Petersburg, where Vengerova was a teacher at the Imperial Conservatory from 1906 to 1920. She settled in the United States in 1923. A year later, she was involved in the foundation of the Curtis Institute and, in 1933, she was appointed professor at Mannes College. Among her students were Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Gary Graffman and Jacob Lateiner.

[See the Isabelle Vengerova Tradition]


Villoing Alexander

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

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

[See the Alexander Villoing Tradition]


Virsaladze [née Abdushelishvili], Anastasia

Georgian (Kutaisi, November 11, 1883 — Tbilisi, September 5, 1968)

Anastasia Virsaladze was a pianist and teacher. She studied with Anna Essipova at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. She taught at the Tbilisi Conservatory from 1921 to 1946 where she had over 100 pupils including Dmitri Bashkirov, Lev Vlassenko and her own granddaughter Eliso Virsaladze. She was likely the first Georgian pianist to perform in the United States.


Virsaladze, Eliso

Georgian (Tbilisi, September 14, 1942)

Eliso Virsaladze is a pianist. She studied with her grandmother the pianist and teacher Anastasia Virsaladze privately and at the Tbilisi Conservatory. Subsequently, she entered the Moscow Conservatory to study with Yakov Zak and Heinrich Neuhaus. She won third prize at the 1962 Tchaikovsky Competition and first prize at the 1966 Schumann Competition. Eliso Virsaladze started teaching at the Moscow Conservatory in 1967 and at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich in 1995. Among her students are Boris Berezovsky and Alexei Volodin.


Vogler, Abbé Georg Joseph

German (Würzburg, June 15, 1749 — Darmstadt, May 6, 1814)

Abbé Vogler was a keyboard player, theorist, teacher, organ designer and composer. He precluded Romanticism in music through his chromatic harmony and colorful orchestration, with the use of folk materials. He studied music with Padre Martini in Bologna, theology and also law in Würzburg and Bamberg. Pope Pius VI named him Knight of the Golden Spur. Upon his return to Mannheim, Vogler published several pedagogical treatises and opened a music school. He travelled extensively and lived in Paris, London, Munich, Stockholm, Gibraltar, Tangiers, Copenhagen, Berlin, Prague and Vienna, where he met Haydn. Vogler composed ka number of keyboard works including concertos and Variations on Air de Marlborough.


Yampolsky, Vladimir

Russian (Cherkasy, Ukraine, 1905 — June 2, 1965)

Vladimir Yampolsky was a pianist and teacher. He studied with Sergei Tarnowsky. He made a number of recordings, particularly with David Oistrakh, for EMI Classics and RCA among others.


                                                                                                                                               © 2021, by Daniel Pereira