Moritz Moszkowski was born on August 23, 1854, as the second child of a Polish-Jewish middle-class family in Breslau in former Silesia and died on March 4, 1925, in Paris. He showed musical talent from an early age and started learning piano with his mother and continued 1865 at the conservatory in Dresden. Since 1869 he studied in Berlin at the Stern’sches Konservatorium with Eduard Franck (piano) and Friedrich Kiel (counterpoint) and shortly after at the Neue Akademie der Tonkunst with Theodor Kullak (piano), Richard Wüerst (composition) and Heinrich Dorn (orchestration). At the height of his fame, he moved to Paris in 1897. Ending his career as a travelling concert pianist in the early 1880’s because of a neuropathy, Moszkowski established himself in Europe as a composer and conductor. His Spanish Dances op. 12 (MoszWV 102) for four-hand piano were a big commercial success and although he exposed little of his private life, his jokes made him known as a witty Bohemian. He gained a reputation as a piano pedagogue and taught numerous pianists and conductors who later on would become famous, as for example Josef Hofmann, Sir Thomas Beecham, Joaquín Turina and Wanda Landowska. The piano studies of Moszkowski belong in many countries to the educational standard repertoire until today.
Moszkowski wrote works for piano, chamber music, concerts and theatre music, including two piano concertos, a violin concerto, three orchestral suites, an opera and a ballet. His sophisticated salon and concert music is characterized by an excellent arrangement for the piano and a polished piano playing is one of his compositional devices. Moszkowski’s virtuoso pieces served to a generation of pianists of the “golden age of the piano” as Sergej Rachmanninoff, Leopold Godowsky or Vladimir Horowitz for their encores.
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