Piano Virtuosos in 1907 Berlin

The School of Liszt
In the month of January in 1907, one could have attended concerts of EIGHT pianists who had been students of Liszt:

Plus, in February, there were performances by Emma Koch (1860-1945) and Conrad Ansorge (1862-1930), also Liszt students!
In addition (this is still just in January) there were concerts by the legendary pianists Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924); Leopold Godowsky (1870-1938); and Artur Schnabel (1882-1951).

Ho-hum: some of these stars had been playing concerts in Berlin for decades.
Berlin debuts:
In 1885, 22 years earlier, d’Albert, Stavenhagen, Sauer, Busoni, Vianna da Motta, and Busoni performed in Berlin.1See reports in the Neue Berliner Musik-Zeitung, pp. 132 (Busoni), 381 (Lamond), 389 (Vianna da Motta, 405 (Lamond). Ansorge’s first Berlin concert was even earlier, on 30 November 1883.
The big difference back then was that they were competing for attention with Anton Rubinstein and Hans von Bülow.

Additional well-known favorites were Clotilde Kleeberg (1866-1909), Max Pauer (1866-1945), and Teresa Carreño (1853-1917).2Names of old timers taken from Hermann Wolff’s Concert Agency lists beginning in 1887.

Besides having studied with Liszt, another sure sign of prestige was to have studied with Theodor Leschetizky. Other pianists who spawned famous students were Reisenauer, Godowsky, Paderewski, Busoni, and Stavenhagen.

Up-and-coming pianists (30 years and younger)

W-M = recorded rolls for the Welte-Mignon “autograph piano”

  • Sergei Bortkiewicz (1877-1952; Reisenauer) Russian
  • Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960) W-M taught piano at the Berliner Hochschule from 1905-15.
  • Severin Eisenberger (1879-1945; Leschetizky) Polish; taught at Moscow Conservatory and in the U.S.
  • Bruno Eisner (1884-1978) taught at the Berliner Hochschule.
  • Ignaz Friedman (1882-1948; Leschetizky and Busoni) Polish, studied in Leipzig and Vienna; was based in Berlin before and after WWI.
  • Gottfried Galston (1879-1950; Leschetizky and Busoni) W-M
  • Paul Goldschmidt (1882-1917; Leschetizky)
  • Leo Kestenberg (1882-1962; Busoni) Hungarian; considered a great pianist but is now known for his educational reforms.
  • Waldemar Lütschg (1877-1948) Russian, taught by his father, who was a professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Was based in Berlin for almost all of his career. 
  • Artur Schnabel (1882-1951; Leschetizky) in Berlin since 1898 W-M
  • Emeric Stefaniai (1885-1959; Busoni and Dohnányi) Hungarian; after WWI lived in Argentina and Chile.
  • Michael von Zadora (1882-1946; Leschetizky and Busoni) W-MPolish but born in New York, returned to the US during WWI; taught at he Institute for Musical Art in New York, later to become the Juilliard School of Music. Advocate for Busoni.


  • Elisabeth Bokemeyer (1889-?) student of Martin Krause at the Stern Conservatory at age 7, retired after her marriage)
  • Emil Frey (1889-1946; Diémer) Swiss with French training; in Berlin 1907-12; 1912-17 at Moscow Conservatory; from 1922 at Zurich Conservatory. He composed in many genres.
  • Miecio Horszowski (1892-1993; Leschetizky) famously long-lived child prodigy.
  • Ethel Leginska (1889 or 1890-1970; Leschetizky) composer and conductor, in Piano Mastery, 1915 ed.
  • Tina Lerner (1889 or 1890-1946?; Godowsky) in Piano Mastery, 1915 ed. Was based in San Francisco during WWI and married fellow Russian child prodigy Vladimir Shavitch there.
  • Komtesse Helene Morsztyn (1888-1953; Leschetizsky) W-M Eventually settled in the US and taught.
  • Germaine Schnitzer (1887 or ’89-1982): French; studied with Pugno in Paris and in Vienna with Sauer; in Piano Mastery, 1915 ed. W-M
  • Wladimir Skaievitsch (1889-1946) Russian; studied with Burmeister in New York, Busoni and Godowsky in Berlin. Moved to the US in 1914, name simplified to Vladimir Shavitch. Played keyboard in the San Francisco SO 1919-20 and became a conductor, taught at Syracuse University.

Other famous pianists who performed in Berlin in 1907

  • Harold Bauer (1873-1951; Paderewski) English, originally a violin prodigy; became a Debussy specialist based in Paris before WWI, became a US citizen and ended his long career in the US; in Piano Mastery, 1915 ed. Made a lot of recordings. Wrote a wonderful memoir.
  • Fanny Davies (1861-1934; Clara Schumann) British, Brahms specialist W-M
  • Carl Friedberg (1862-1955; Clara Schumann, James Kwast at Hoch Conservatory Frankfurt) played for Brahms, taught at Juilliard until 1946 W-M
  • John H. Powell (1882-1963; Leschetizky) American composer and white supremacist; in Piano Mastery, 1917 ed. He performed with the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony Orchestra several times, and his compositions were performed several times on New York Philharmonic concerts.
  • Eduard Risler (1873-1929) French-German pianist from Paris.
  • Wassily Sapellnikoff (1867-1941; Menter) W-M Premiered Tchaikovsky B minor Piano Concerto as his debut with the composer conducting; played a concert of four piano concertos in 1903
  • Ernst Schelling (1876-1939; Paderewski) American composer and conductor; in Piano Mastery, 1915 ed. Berlin debut 1901. W-M
  • Martinus Sieveking (1867-1950; Leschetizky) Dutch inventor and body-builder who used his own customized piano starting in 1907. He actually only studied with Leschetizky after years of concertizing. In Piano Mastery, 1917 ed.

Other pianists with important careers in addition to solo performances:

  • Coenraad Bos (1875-1955) Dutch, “the best accompanist in Germany”; premiered Brahms’s “Vier Ernste Gesänge” with Anton Sistermanns on 9 November 1896.
  • Vita Gerhardt (b. 1868); Danish pianist who studied with Leschetizsky. Her Berlin debut was in 1884. In a Piano Trio group in Berlin with violinist Anton Witek, whom she married in 1910.
  • Alexander Goldenweiser (1875-1961) taught at Moscow Conservatory for 55 years
  • Bruno Hinze-Reinhold (1877-1964; Reisenauer); became director of the Weimar Conservatory
  • James Kwast  (1852-1927) and Frida Kwast-Hodapp:(1880-1948) Reger advocates, pedagogues
  • Ellen Saatweber-Schlieper (1874-1933; Leschetizky ) Reger specialist, longtime collaborator with Henri Marteau
  • Vera Press-Maurina of the Russian Piano Trio (Leschetizky) W-M

Pianists who gave performances in Berlin in 1907 (dates of performances listed after their names). These names are now more or less obscure, but they seem to have had a successful career, at least in Berlin. 

  • Anna Bohm (5.12.1907) from Brandenburg
  • Nora Drewett (1882-1960; Stavenhagen)
  • Marie Dubois (8.3., 25.11. and 7.12.1907) French W-M
  • Myrtle Elvyn (15.2.1907; Godowsky) from Texas via Chicago W-M
  • Anna von Gabain (28.2.1907; b. 1866, Carreño)
  • Else Gipser (1875-1925; 3.1. and 7.2.1907; Kwast)
  • Mark Günzburg, (b. 1879; 27.9.1907; Sauer, Carreño) Russian W-M taught at Stern and Klindworth-Scharwenka; went to Mexico in 1921
  • Käthe Heinemann (b. 1893; 18.10.1907) teacher W-M
  • Katherine Ruth Heymann (b. 1877; 19.12.1907; Barth) from California; advocate for modern music into the 1930s
  • Hedwig Kirsch (19.1.1907) W-M
  • Hedwig Klimek (6.12.1907; Förster) teacher at Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory
  • Hermann Klum (21.11.1907; Leschetizky) W-M born in Vienna, taught in Chicago 1900-1903
  • Martha Küntzel (14.12.1907; Carreño)
  • Hermann Lafont (1873-1923; 10.10.1907; Stavenhagen) taught at Athens Conservatory 1900-03, Stern, Klindworth-Scharwenka W-M
  • Marie Panthès (1871-1955) b. Odessa, Paris Conservatory; Professor at Geneva Conservatory
  • Artur Reinhold (16.10.1907; Reisenauer)–from Königsberg, said to be pushed too hard as a child, became a piano dealer
  • Ninon Romaine Curry (16.11.1907, Teichmüller at Leipzig Conservatory) American; teacher in Toledo
  • Therese Slotttko (2.12.1907; Ansorge) spent time in East Asia
  • Hans Solty (2.12.1907) Liszt specialist, autodidact
  • Gisela Springer (25.1., 14.11. 12.12.1907) known as a pedagogue based in Vienna
  • Paula Stebel (b. 1885; 5.12.1907) W-M
  • Evelyn Suart (22.11.1907; Godowsky) became Menuhin’s mother-in-law
  • Otto Voss (13.11. and 11.12.1907; Leschetizky) American teacher based in Heidelberg, became a Nazi  W-M
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