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  • Earthling 3:21 pm on August 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Author of Wedding March, Composer, Conductor, Felix Mendelssohn, , German music, Greatest Romantic Composer, Jew music, , Pianist, Writer of Wedding March   

    Felix Mendelssohn 

    Felix Mendelssohn (Born on February 3, 1809 in Hamburg, Germany – Died on November 4, 1847 in Leipzig, Germany) was a German composer, conductor, pianist, and teacher of Jewish descent. He is considered one of the greatest early Romantic composers. His most famous piece is his Wedding March, which remains one of the most popular wedding songs in the world.


    Felix Mendelssohn was born in 1809 in Hamburg to Abraham and Leah Mendelssohn. His full name is Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. He was the grandson of the famous philosopher Moses Mendelssohn. His parents were converts to Christianity. They moved to Berlin during the French occupation of Hamburg, when Felix was two years old. His father became a banker.

    Mendelssohn and his sister Fanny both received early piano lessons from their mother. Mendelssohn’s early musical education progressed with piano lessons under Ludwig Berger and composition lessons under Karl Friedrich Zelter. He also studied foreign language, drawing, and painting. In 1816, he stayed in Paris for a while and had piano lessons from Marie Bigot.

    Mendelssohn was a child prodigy. During his childhood years, he wrote several operas and eleven symphonies, among many other compositions. His public debut took place in Berlin when he was nine years old.
    In 1819, Mendelssohn entered the Singakademie academy and composed prolifically. He also began conducting there. Mendelssohn studied with the renowned pianist and compoers Ignaz Moscheles in 1824.

    In 1829, Mendelssohn conducted a successful performance of St. Matthew Passion by Bach. Later that year, he conducted the London Philharmonic Society. He began writing his third symphony, known as his Scottish Symphony, while in Scotland.

    Mendelssohn toured Europe for several years, conducting and continuing to compose. In 1835, he became the conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig. In 1836, Mendelssohn met Cécile Jeanrenaud in Frankfurt, and they married the next year. They had five children.

    In 1843, Mendelssohn founded the Leipzig Conservatory of Music and served as its director. The Conservatory is still running today and is the oldest university of music in Germany. Mendelssohn has been credited with establishing Leipzig as the musical center of Germany. [1]

    Mendelssohn began to suffer health problems in 1844. In 1847, Mendelssohn’s sister Fanny suddenly died. Mendelssohn became depressed and his health worsened. Six months after his sister, Mendelssohn died from a ruptured blood vessel at age 38.

    Musical Style and Legacy

    Mendelssohn is considered to be one of the most major early Romantic composers. He remains extremely popular, and his Wedding March is one of the most widely known wedding marches in the world. His music has been described as dramatic, energetic, and original.

    Mendelssohn took inspiration from Bach and played a significant role in reviving interest in him. He also appreciated and supported his contemporary Franz Schubert.

    Notable Works

    Wedding March (from music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
    Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 25
    Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 40
    Violin Concerto, Op. 64


    People often complain that music is too ambiguous, that what they should think when they hear it is so unclear, whereas everyone understands words. With me, it is exactly the opposite, and not only with regard to an entire speech but also with individual words.”

    [1] https://www.biography.com/people/felix-mendelssohn-40373
    Article written by me for Lunyr

  • Earthling 3:16 pm on June 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Austrian composer, Felix Blumenfeld, Pianist, , , , Teacher of Maria Grinberg, Teacher of Maria Yudina, Teacher of Simon Barere, Teacher of Vladimir Horowitz,   

    Felix Blumenfeld 

    Felix Mikhailovich Blumenfeld (Born on April 1, 1863 in Kovalevka, Ukraine — Died on January 21, 1931 in Moscow, Russia) was a Russian-Ukrainian composer, conductor, pianist, and teacher. He was of Polish and Austrian descent. He conducted many famous pieces and had a successful career as a pianist until he became paralysed from syphilis. Among his students were Vladimir Horowitz and Simon Barere. As a composer he was known and appreciated during his lifetime, but has since fallen into obscurity. He wrote mainly piano pieces in the romantic style.


    Felix Blumenfeld was born in Kovalevka in the Ukraine in 1863. His father, Mikhail Frantsevich Bluemnfeld, was Austrian, and his mother, Marie Szymanowska, was Polish. Felix’s sister Olga was the mother of Heinrich Neuhaus, the famous pianist and teacher. Felix and Neuhaus enjoyed a close friendship and mutually influenced each other throughout their lives. Felix Blumenfeld was also a cousin Karol Szymanowski, one of Poland’s most popular composers.

    In 1881, Blumenfeld went to the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he studied composition under Rimsky-Korsakov and piano under Fedor Stein. He graduated in 1885, then joined the Conservatory faculty as a piano teacher until 1918. He was also the director of the Mariinsky Theatre until 1911. He conducted many notable works at the theatre, including the premieres of Rimsky-Korsakov’s operas Servilia (1902) and Invisible City of Kitezh (1907), as well as the Russian premiere of Wagners’ Tristan und Isolde (1899). In 1908, he conducted the Paris Premiere of Mussorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov.

    Blumenfeld also conducted some of Scriabin’s works, such as the premiere of his Divine Poem (1902), and a performance of his Poem of Ecstasy (1907). According to one anecdote, Blumenfeld met with Alexander Scriabin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, Glazunov, and Josef Hofmann to discuss and study Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy and some of his piano works. They concluded that Scriabin was “out of his mind, if he had a mind at all.” [1]

    Blumenfeld played an important role in the life and career of his nephew Heinrich Neuhaus. It was under Blumenfeld’s advice that Neuhaus went to study music in Germany in 1905.

    Blumenfeld was a skilled pianist but his career as a concert pianist ended when he contracted syphilis. He was reportedly quite promiscuous, although he did marry. [1] Syphilis partially paralyzed him and prevented him from giving concerts. Prior to his incapacitation, he performed the debuts of works by prominent Russian composers such as Glazunov, Liadov, and Arensky.

    In 1918, Blumenfeld left the St. Petersburg Conservatory and became the director of the Mykola Lysenko Music-Drama School in Kiev. His most notable pupil here was Vladimir Horowitz. 1922, he left Kiev and started teaching at the Moscow Conservatory. He held his post there for the rest of his life. Heinrich Neuhaus also taught in Kiev when Blumenfeld was there, and they both transferred to the Moscow Conservatory at the same time, remaining there for the rest of their lives. Among Blumenfeld’s notable pupils were Vladimir Horowitz, Simon Barere, Maria Yudina, and Maria Grinberg.

    Blumenfeld was popular during his lifetime, but faded into obscurity after his death. Among his works are many piano pieces, some chamber pieces, a symphony, and an Allegro de Concert for piano and orchestra. He wrote in a romantic style.

    Notable Works

    Etudes fantasies Op. 25

    String Quartet Op. 26

    Ballade Op. 34

    A la memoire des chers defunct Op. 39 (Symphony)

    Sonata-Fantasie Op. 46

    Episodes dans la vie d’une danseuse Op. 52


    [1] https://musicalics.com/en/node/78861






    Article written by me for Lunyr

  • Earthling 3:03 pm on May 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Heinrich Neuhaus, , Music teachers, Musical pedagogue, Pianist, Polish pianist, , Teacher of Sviatoslav Richter,   

    Heinrich Neuhaus 


    Heinrich Gustavovich Neuhaus (Born on April 2, 1888 in Elizavetgrad, Ukraine – Died on October 10, 1964 in Moscow, Russia) was a Ukrainian-born pianist and teacher of German and Polish descent. He taught at the Moscow Conservatory for 40 years and became one of the most loved and respected pianists and pedagogues of the 20th century.


    Heinrich’s parents were both music teachers. His father Gustav was of German descent. His mother Olga Blumenfeld was of Polish descent. She was the sister of the composer Felix Blumenfeld, a renowned pianist, composer, and teacher who taught at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Heinrich Neuhaus was also the cousin of the renowned Polish composer Karol Szymanowsky.

    Heinrich Neuhaus was precocious and had already become a successful concert pianist by age 17. He was also a polyglot, being fluent in Ukrainian, Russian, German, French, English, and Italian.

    In 1904, the whole family visited Berlin with Felix Blumenfeld and Karol Szymanowsky. In 1905, under Felix Blumenfeld’s advice, Neuhaus went to Berlin to study under Leopold Godowsky. After a brief period of study, he went to Italy. He remained in Italy for two years. Then he returned to Elizavetgrad upon his parent’s request. This greatly depressed him, after a period of productivity and happiness in Italy.

    Neuhaus went to the Hochschule der Musik in Berlin. He studied piano under Heinrich Bart. He also studied music theory and composition. Heinrich Bart was excessively conservative and rejected modern musicians such as Busoni, Liszt, Wagner, Mahler, and Scriabin. Neuhaus could not endure Bart’s approach, and returned to Ukraine. His parents wanted him to finish his education, so they sent him to the Vienna Academy of Music in 1909.

    In 1912, Neuhaus went to Florence, Italy and attempted suicide by cutting his wrist. He was hospitalized and recovered.

    Neuhaus finally went to St. Petersburg, took examinations, and graduated in 1915. He taught in Tbilisi, then returned to Elizavetgrad in 1917. He taught at the Kiev Conservatory from 1919 to 1922. He became very popular as a pianist. His uncle Blumenfeld was also a professor at the Kiev Conservatory. Neuhaus and Blumenfeld were both transferred to the Moscow Conservatory in 1922. Neuhaus remained there for the rest of his life.

    In Moscow, Neuhaus’s fame as both a teacher and a pianist grew. He loved to have many people attend his lessons. His pupils include some of the most highly regarded pianists of the 20th century: Sviatoslav Richter, Emil Gilels, Nina Svetlanova, Alexei Lubimov, Igor Zhukov, Yakov Zak, and others.

    From 1935 to 1937, he was the director of the Moscow Conservatory. During World War 2, he was imprisoned due to suspicions that he was a German spy. He was released after eight months thanks to the intervention of friends and students.

    In 1958, he published The Art of Piano Playing, which remains very widely used and respected among piano teachers and students.

    Neuhaus died in 1964. His son Stanislav Neuhaus is a successful pianist, as well as his grandson Stanislav Bunin.

    Musical Style and Legacy

    Neuhaus strove to understand the whole and the essence of every piece he played, and he tried to instill this in his students. He tried to approach each composer, each piece, and each student according to their own unique qualities. He is remembered as one of the greatest pianist and piano teachers of the 20th century.

    Article written by me for Lunyr

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