The Pierre Zimmermann Tradition
Piano Traditions Through Their Genealogy Trees
© 2021, by Daniel Pereira
Doctor of Musical Arts | www.daniel-pereira.com
Alkan [Morhange], Charles-Valentin
French (Paris, November 30, 1813 — Paris, March 29, 1888)
One of the most fascinating piano virtuosos and also a neglected composer, he was born into a Jewish family and all his siblings became musicians using the name Alkan, rather than their proper surname Morhange, including Napoléon Alkan who taught solfège at the Paris Conservatory. There, Charles-Valentin obtained the Premier Prix of solfège at the age of seven and, subsequently, also for piano, harmony and organ. His op. 1 was published when he was only 14. He was a close friend and admirer of Chopin and George Sand, although he became known for his misanthropy and introversion. He usually performed the works of other composers rather than his own compositions. For several times, he withdrew from public performance and, as a result, his biography contains periods of obscurity. Among is extensive piano output we find the Symphonie op. 39, Grande sonata op. 33, the variations Le festin d´Esope, 25 Préludes op. 31, Grande sonate: Les quatre âges op. 33, and the 12 études op. 35 and op. 39, as well as two chamber piano concertos. He also published transcriptions of Bach, Handel and Marcello and some fascinating works for the pédalier, or the pedal piano. It is generally accepted that his illegitimate son was the pianist Elie-Miriam Delaborde.
Barentzen, Aline von
French-American (Somerville, United States, July 17, 1897 — Paris, October 30, 1981)
A precocious child, she gave he first recital at the age of four, performed Beethoven´s First Piano Concerto at seven and entered the Paris Conservatory at nine. She produced some records for Her Master´s Voice. She premiered Villa-Lobos´ Chôros no. 8, for two pianos, with Spanish pianist Tomás Terán under the composer´s baton in 1927.
French (Paris, October 25, 1838 — Bougival, near Paris, June 3, 1875)
Georges Bizet was a composer, especially of different opera genres. His most well-known work is the Carmen. His uncle was the renowned voice teacher François Delsarte. Bizet entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1848 and studied with Pierre Zimmermann. He was an exceptional sight-reader and developed a career as a rehearsal pianist. He composed numerous piano works including Variations chromatiques de concert, Romance sans paroles, Trois esquisses musicales and Chants du Rhin.
French (Rouen, December 16, 1775 — Jarcy, Seine et Oise, October 8, 1834)
François-Adrien Boieldieu was one of the most important opera composers in France during the early nineteenth century. He studied organ, piano, harmony and composition with Charles Broche, organist at the Rouen Cathedral. Boieldieu was appointed organist at the church of Saint André de Rouen in 1791. He achieved some success as a concert pianist. From 1798 to 1803, he taught piano at the Paris Conservatoire.
Jacob Bogaart is a pianist. He studied at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, and with Jan Wijn, Carlo Zecchi, Magda Tagliaferro, Raphael de Silva and Claudio Arrau. In 2015 he released The Art of Dutch Keyboard Music in a set of 8 discs comprising 400 years of music, 112 works by 50 composers.
French (Rouen, February 20, 1752 — Rouen, September 30, 1803)
Charles Broche was an organist and composer. He studied with Desmazures, organist at the Rouen Cathedral, and with Padre Martini in Bologna. He taught François-Adrien Boieldieu. Broche composed a series a keyboard sonatas with violin accompaniment.
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.
French (Paris, February 25, 1727 — Paris, February 2, 1789)
Armand-Louis Couperin was a composer, organist and harpsichordist. His father was Nicolas Couperin. His keyboard output includes the Simphonie de clavecins, a piece which demands the use of two harpsichords with genouillères (knee levers). Couperin married Elisabeth-Antoinette Blanchet, daughter of the best harpsichord maker in France.
Couppey, Félix Le
French (Paris, April 14, 1811 —Paris, July 4, 1887)
Félix Le Couppey was a pianist, composer and teacher. He studied with Victor Dourlen and Louis Pradher at the Paris Conservatoire and received the Premier Prix in piano in 1825. He wrote such pedagogical traits as ABD du piano, École du mechanism de piano and Cours de piano élémentaire et progressif. He also published a series of piano études. Le Couppey had numerous pupils such as Cécile Chaminade, Sophie Chéné and Léontine Bordes-Pene.
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]
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.
French (Airaines, October 24, 1843 — Paris, January 29, 1896)
Alexis-Henri Fissot was a pianist, organist and composer. He entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 8 and received five Premier Prix. He studied with Antoine-François Marmontel. In 1865 he was appointed principal organist at Notre-Dame de Clignancourt and, in 1874, at Vincent-de-Paul. He composed Douze morceaux de genre op. 2 and Cent leçons d´harmonie.
Belgian-French (Liège, December 10, 1822 — Paris, November 8, 1890)
César Franck was a composer, teacher, pianist and organist. He studied at the Liège Conservatory under Jalheau and at the Paris Conservatoire with Pierre Zimmermann. Franck held a number of positions as organist and taught at the Paris Conservatoire, where Vincent D´Indy was among his students. His compositions include Prélude choral et fugue, Prélude, aria et final and Les Dijins for piano and orchestra.
Goria, Alexandre Édouard
French (Paris, January 21, 1823 — Paris, July 6, 1860)
Alexandre Goria was a pianist and composer. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Adolphe Laurent and Pierre Zimmermann and won the Premier Prix in 1834 at the of 12. Subsequently, he worked at the Conservatoire as répétiteur. He was a friend of Czerny and Gottschalk, who dedicated him Le Bananier. Goria composed over a hundred piano pieces including studies, fantasias, nocturnes, polkas, mazurkas and ballades.
French (Paris, June 17, 1818 — Saint-Cloud, October 18, 1893)
Charles Gounod was a composer. He was among the most influential composers during the second half of the 19th century in France. Gounod´s mother, Victoire Lemachois, was a piano student of Louis Adam. Gounod showed an early gift for music and drawing. He married Pierre Zimmermann´s daughter Anna. Although Gounod became famous for his operas and sacred works, he also composed pieces for the piano such as Valse, Deux romances sans paroles, La veneziana and Prélude, and for the pedal piano with orchestra including the Fantaisie sur l´hymne national russe.
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.
French (early November 1785 — Enghien-les-Bains, June 10, 1849)
Kalkbrenner was a pianist, teacher and composer. He was born en route from Kassel to Berlin. His father, Christian Kalkbrenner, gave him his first music lessons. Subsequently, Kalkbrenner studied at the Paris Conservatory and obtained premiers prix in piano and harmony. Between 1803 and 1804, he travelled to Vienna where he met Haydn, who offered him guidance, and also made the acquaintance of Clementi. In 1814, Kalkbrenner settled in England, where he achieved fame as a pianist, teacher and composer. Ten years after, he returned to Paris and found his place among the most prominent virtuosos of his day, not only in France but all over Europe, attaining an international career without precedent. Kalkbrenner invited Chopin to study with him, but the Polish composer declined the offer. However, Chopin dedicated his Concerto in E minor op. 11 to Kalkbrenner. As a composer, Kalkbrenner focused mostly on the piano. He produced piano concertos, 13 sonatas, Élégie harmonique op. 36, Caprice op. 104, and a number of other pieces such as airs variés, romances, rondeaux and waltzes. Ha also wrote pedagogical pieces including the 24 études dans tous les tons opp. 20 and 88, 12 études préparatoires, 25 grandes études de style et de perfectionnement, and the influential Méthode pour apprendre le piano-forte à l´aide du guide-mains. He invented the so-called hand-guide mechanism with the aim of helping the pianist avoid any arm movement and, as a consequence, develop the maximum finger independence possible.
[See the Frédéric Kalkbrenner Tradition]
French (Marseilles, May 5, 1951)
Winner of the Premier Prix at the Paris Conservatory, Prix Albert Roussel and Cziffra Competition, he received his first musical instruction in Cameroon. He was the first pianist who recorded the complete Liszt transcriptions of the Beethoven symphonies as well as Mahler´s Das Lied von der Erde in its original piano and voice version. He also recorded a substantial number of Chopin´s works.
Polish (Lódz, September 16, 1918 — Warsaw, September 26, 1968)
Wladyslaw Kedra was a pianist. He studied at the Lódz Conservatory and in Paris. At the 3rd Chopin International Competition, he attracted Magda Tagliaferro´s attention. In 1957, he settled in Vienna. Kedra made numerous recordings. He died from cancer at the age of 50.
French (Bourges, November 26, 1818 — Saint Vaast-la-Hougue, Manche, September 30, 1884)
Louis Lacombe was a pianist, composer and writer. Since age eleven, he studied with Pierre Zimmermann at the Paris Conservatoire and won the Premier Prix. He also studied with Czerny in Vienna. His second wife was a famous singer at the Opéra-Comique, Claudine Duclairfiat, a.k.a. Andrée Favel. His piano works include nocturnes, études, valses, melodies and fantasias.
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 (Nîmes, November 13, 1874 — Paris, February 13, 1966)
Marguerite Long was a pianist and teacher. She studied with Henri Fissot at the Paris Conservatoire, where she won the Premier Prix in 1891, and also took private lessons with Antonin Marmontel. She premiered Ravel´s Le Tombeau de Couperin and Concerto in G. Between 1906 and 1940, Long taught at the Paris Conservatoire such eminent pianists as Samson François, Annie d´Arco and Jacques Février. In 1941, she founded a music school in Paris and, two years later, established a competition with Jacques Thibaud. She published Au piano avec Claude Debussy, Au piano avec Gabriel Fauré, Le piano and Le petite méthode de piano.
[See the Marguerite Long Tradition]
Marmontel, Antonin Émile Louis Corbaz
French (Paris, November 22, 1850 — Paris, July 23, 1907)
Antonin Marmontel was a pianist, teacher and composer. He was the son and pupil of Antoine-François Marmontel. He won the Premier Prix in 1867 at the Paris Conservatoire, where he also taught. He was second chorus master at the Paris Ópera. Marmontel composed a number of salon pieces for piano.
French (Clermont-Ferrand, July 16, 1816 — Paris, January 16, 1898)
Antoine-François Marmontel was a pianist and teacher. 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. His son Antonin-Emile-Louis Corbaz was also a pianist and became also 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 École classique du piano.
[See the Antoine-François Marmontel Tradition]
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.
Brazilian (Bahia, April 7, 1950)
Cristina Ortiz is a pianist. She studied in Rio de Janeiro, with Magda Tagliaferro in Paris and with Rudolf Serkin at the Curtis Institute. In 1969, she won first prize at the Van Cliburn Competition. Her recordings for EMI, Decca, BIS and others include all-five piano concertos by Villa-Lobos and works by Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Constant Lambert. She offers masterclasses at the Royal Academy of Music and Juilliard School. She married Jasper Parrott in 1974 and lives in London.
Pérez de Albéniz y Basanta, Pedro
Spanish (Logroño, April 14, 1795 — Madrid, April 12, 1855)
Pedro Albéniz was a pianist, organist, composer and teacher. His father was the composer and keyboardist Mateo Pérez de Albéniz, who gave him the first music instruction. In Paris, he studied piano with Henri Herz and composition with Frédéric Kalkbrenner. Albéniz was a friend of Rossini and Fétis. After he returned to Spain, he was appointed organist at Saint Mary´s church in San Sebastián and, subsequently, in a church his native Logroño. In June 1830, he became the first professor at the newly established Conservatory of Madrid and also organist at the royal chapel. He introduced in Spain the French piano school and was a crucial figure in establishing the Spanish tradition. He also taught privately Queen Isabel II and her sister María Luis Fernanda. Many of Albéniz´s works were dedicated and premiered by them. He published the Método completo para piano in 1840, which was part of the official curriculum of the conservatory.
[See the Pedro Albéniz Tradition]
French (Paris, December 16, 1782 — Gray, October 19, 1843)
Pradher was an instructor at the Paris Conservatory and director of the Toulouse Conservatoire from 1840 to 1841. He composed a number of operas and music for the piano, including a concerto, sonatas and works for two pianos. He was an eminent teacher who insisted of the independence of the fingers as a fundamental aspect of piano technique. He was the piano teacher to the princesses at the court of Louis XVIII and Charles X.
[See the Louis Pradher Tradition]
French (Angoulême, February 3, 1817 — Paris, May 14, 1863)
Emile Prudent was a pianist, composer and teacher. He studied with Pierre Zimmermann at the Paris Conservatoire where he won the Premier Prix in 1833. He appeared on stage with Sigismond Thalberg who deeply influenced his pianistic and compositional style. Prudent composed La danse des fees, Rêve d´Ariel and a fantasy on Lucia di Lammermoor op. 8, which achieved a record number of sales of 10,000 copies.
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]
French (Paris, October 13, 1811 — Paris, March 18 or 20, 1876)
Henri Rosellen was a pianist, composer and teacher. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Louis Pradher and Pierre Zimmermann and, privately, with Henri Herz. He published Manuel du pianiste.
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, March 19, 1745 — Paris, March 16, 1819)
Nicolas Séjan was an organist and composer. He became a virtuoso organist and piano improviser and was admired by Daquin and Armand-Louis Couperin. In 1772, he was appointed one of the four organists at Notre-Dame Cathedral. He taught at the École Royale du Chant and was the first organ professor at the Paris Conservatoire. Séjan was among the first composers in France to write specifically for the piano. His compositions include the variations on Paisiello´s Je suis Lindor.
Dutch (Amsterdam, August 22, 1827 — London, February 8, 1909)
Edouard Silas was a pianist, organist and composer. He studied with Louis Lacombe and Frédéric Kalkbrenner. He settled in London in 1850, where he became organist at the Roman Catholic chapel in Kingston upon Thames. He composed dances, impromptus and nocturnes for the piano, and two works for piano and orchestra dedicated to Anton Rubinstein, Fantasia and Elégie.
Brazilian-French (Petrópolis, January 19, 1893 — Rio de Janeiro, September 9, 1986)
Magda Tagliaferro was a pianist. She studied in São Paulo and with Antonin Marmontel at the Paris Conservatoire, where she received the Premier Prix in 1907. Subsequently, she worked privately with Alfred Cortot. Tagliaferro taught at the Paris Conservatoire and in Brazil. Among her students were Cristina Ortiz and James Tocco. She premiered works by Villa-Lobos, Migot, Rivier and Pierné. At the age of 90, she successfully performed recitals in Paris, London, New York and in South America. Tagliaferro published her autobiography Quase tudo in 1979 and made numerous recordings.
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]
American (Detroit, 1943)
James Tocco is a pianist of Italian descent. He studied with Magda Tagliaferro in Paris, at the Salzburg Mozarteum and with Claudio Arrau in New York. He won first prize at the ARD International Music Competition in Munich. His recordings include the complete piano music by Leonard Bernstein and Charles Tomlinson Griffes, Chopin´s Preludes op. 28 and four piano sonatas by Edward MacDowell. Tocco teaches at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Manhattan School and Musikhochschule in Lübeck, Germany. He is co-founder of the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Michigan.
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.
French (Paris, March 19?, 1785 — Paris, October 29, 1853)
Pierre Zimmermann was a pianist, teacher and composer. His father was a Parisian piano maker. Zimmermann entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1798, where he became a student of Boieldieu and won the Premier Prix in 1800, surpassing Frédéric Kalkbrenner. He started teaching at the Conservatoire in 1811. Charles Gounod was his son-in-law. He published the Encyclopédie du pianist in 1840.
[See the Pierre Zimmermann Tradition]
© 2021, by Daniel Pereira