Destitute and on the verge of starving, Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919) arrived in Paris. He found work as an accompanist at various café-concerts, and eventually attracted attention. Colloquially known as the “great little Italian,” he gradually gained entry into the various
The teenage American sensation Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869) played his name into the hearts of Parisian society. Paris was full with youthful geniuses, but one from America attracted special attention. His earliest music published in France in his name tellingly
Frédéric Chopin had turned twenty-five when he fell passionately and hopelessly in love with sixteen-year old Maria Wodzińska. He had known her as a child, and “used to chase her through the rooms at Pszenny.” She in turn greatly “annoyed
After Jacques Offenbach abruptly discontinued his studies at the Paris Conservatoire he gradually built a reputation composing for and performing in the fashionable salons of Paris. And at one of these cultured gatherings, his eyes fell upon a young Spanish
Theodor Leschetizky’s (1830-1915) unbelievable teaching career lasted the better part of 75 years! It is said that in excess of 1200 eager piano students passed through his studio, and that included piano superstars Schnabel, Gabrilovich, Friedman, Moiseiwitch, Yesipova, Vengerova, and
When Carl Loewe (1796-1869) moved to Halle to further his musical education, he quickly became involved in the local “Singakademie.” Founded by Johann Friedrich Naue—a student of Carl Friedrich Zelter—in 1814, this large choral society was established to study and
The Russian composer Alexander Tcherepnin (1899-1977) launched his international career as a pianist and composer from Paris. He won a number of prizes and embarked on yearly concert tours to the United States, yet he was restlessly searching for a
When Hector Berlioz went to see a production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in Paris in 1827, he could hardly have guessed that it would turn into a life-changing experience!