Music History Monday: April 17 Happy Birthday, Artur Schnabel! Born April 17 in 1882, Artur Schnabel (1882-1952) is an Austrian classical pianist, composer and educator. Growing up in Vienna, Schnabel started taking piano lesson at age four, after becoming interested in his sister’s lessons. His talent and passion for learning led him to taking lessons...

Music History Monday: April 17

Happy Birthday, Artur Schnabel!

Born April 17 in 1882, Artur Schnabel (1882-1952) is an Austrian classical pianist, composer and educator.

Growing up in Vienna, Schnabel started taking piano lesson at age four, after becoming interested in his sister’s lessons. His talent and passion for learning led him to taking lessons with Professor Hans Schmitt of the Vienna Conservatorium (today, University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna) at age six.

By nine, he was accepted as a student of piano pedagogue Theodor Leschetizky. Schnabel studied with Leschetizky for seven years; during which time he also studied music theory and composition with Eusebius Mandyczewski (an assistant to Johannes Brahms). Artur Schnabel made his official concert debut in 1897 at the Bosendorfer-Saal in Vienna.

After moving to Berlin in 1898, Schnabel made his debut there at the Bechstein-Saal. After World War I he toured extensively visiting Russia, the United States, and England. His touring included orchestral performances as well as chamber music performances (he formed three trios during this time). In 1925, he started teaching at the Berlin State Academy.

In 1933, Schnabel left Germany  and lived in England for a while. In 1944, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen and took a teaching position at the University of Michigan. He would later return to Europe, residing in Switzerland; where he died in 1951.

Known for his intellectual seriousness as a musician, Schnabel is among the 20th century’s most respected and most important pianists. He is most well known for his devotion to showcasing the spirituality of the Austo-German classics, specifically works by Beethoven and Schubert. He is most well known for his recording of the complete Beethoven sonatas (the complete cycle of 32 sonatas) recorded from 1932 to 1935.

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