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Theodor Leschetizky
Music Society in Warsaw


Theodor Leschetizky was a Polish pianist, teacher and composer. He was born in Lancut (the Austrian Partition of Poland), 22 June 1830, died in Dresden, 14 November 1915.

He started studying music under his father, Joseph, who held the position of music teacher by the count Alfred Potocki's estate in Lancut. Leschetizky made his debut at the age of nine in Lemberg, playing the Czerny's Concertino under the direction of Franz Xaver Mozart. In 1841 Leschetizky moved to Vienna, where he became a pupil of Czerny (piano) and Simon Sechter (composition). The same time he started to study philosophy at the Vienna University. From 1842 to 1848 Leschetizky undertook tours as a virtuoso with enormous success. In September 1852 he went to St Petersburg, where he played before Nicholas I, and then lived in the city for the next 26 years.

Having been a piano teacher from his teenage years, he greatly expanded this activity during his sojourn in Russia, while not neglecting his career as a pianist. He became director of music at the court of the Grand Duchess Helen, sister-in-law of the Tsar, and it was under her patronage that Anton Rubinstein founded the St Petersburg Conservatory in 1862, with Leschetizky as head of the piano departtnent. He held the post until 1878, when he returned to Vienna.

During a career that lasted 75 years, in excess of 1200 pianists are known to have studied with him. Leschetizky became a fame as a pre-eminent teacher of his day. Leschetizky's students were active on the concert for almost all of the 20th century. Horszowski, who had been his pupil, gave his last recital in 1991. Other major figures who were his pupils are among others: Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860 -1941), Artur Schnabel (1882-1951), Mieczysław Horszowski (1892-1993), Benno Moisewitsch (1890-1963), Mark Hamburg (1879-1960), Ossip Gabrilowitsch (1878-1936), Annette Yesipova (1851-1914), Alexander Brailowsky (1896-1976), Richard Buhlig (1880-1952), Ignacy Friedmann (1882-1948), Ethel Leginska (1886-1970), Elly Ney (1882-1968) and Paul Wittgenstein (1887-1961). Safonov, Vengerova, Esipova and Langenhan-Hirzel themselves all became well-known teachers.

Compositions of Leschetizky, which include an early singlemovement Piano Concerto in C minor op.9 and a comic opera ‘Die erste Falte’ (1867, Prague), consist for the main part of well-crafted virtuoso works for piano.


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