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Theodor Leschetizky

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Theodor Leschetizky (22 June 1830 – 14 November 1915) (sometimes spelled Leschetitzky, in Polish: Teodor Leszetycki) was a Polish pianist, professor and composer born in Łańcut, then Landshut in the kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, also known as Austrian Poland, a crownland of the Habsburg Monarchy.
Theodor Leschetizky was born on 22 June 1830 at the estate of the family of Count Potocki in Łańcut, Poland. Joseph Leschetizky, his father, was a gifted pianist and music teacher of Viennese birth. His mother Thérèse von Ullmann was a gifted singer of German origin. His father gave him his first piano lessons and then took him to Vienna to study with Carl Czerny. At age eleven, he performed a Czerny piano concerto in Łańcut, with Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart, the son of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, conducting. At the age of fifteen he started to tutor his first students. By the age of eighteen he was a well-known virtuoso in Vienna and beyond. His composition teacher was Simon Sechter, an eminent professor who was the teacher of many other successful musicians.
At the invitation of his friend Anton Rubinstein, he went to St. Petersburg to teach in the court of the Grand Duchess Yelena Pavlovna. Remaining there from 1852 to 1877, he was head of the piano department and one of the founders of the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music in 1862. While in Russia he married one of his most famous students, Anna Essipova, the second of his four wives, with whom he had two children; one of them was his daughter, the well-known singer and teacher, Theresa, the other was his son Robert.
In 1878 he returned to Vienna and began teaching there, creating one of the most eminent private piano schools in the world. Promising pianists flocked to his villa in the Währing Cottage District on Karl-Ludwig-Straße, Vienna, coming from all over the world, with a great many from the United States, among them also classical singer Clara Clemens, the daughter of Mark Twain.
From 1904 to 1908, he was assisted by one of his students, Ethel Newcomb, an experience which proved a fertile ground for background research for her 1921 book, Leschetizky as I Knew Him.
He taught until the age of 85, leaving for Dresden in 1915. He died on 14 November 1915 in Dresden.
Leschetizky's motto: "No life without art, no art without life!"
He was survived by a son, Robert (Dresden), whose family returned to Bad Ischl after his death. His descendants still live in Bad Ischl and there is a Leschetizky Villa on Leschetizky-Straβe, the summer resort where he often vacationed with his friend Johannes Brahms.
Leschetizky had a granddaughter, Ilse Leschetizky (1910–1997), who was a distinguished pianist and teacher. One of her daughters, Margret Tautschnig, continues the Leschetizky tradition with the Leschetizky-Verein Österreich in Bad Ischl. This organisation was co-founded by the Belgian pianist Peter Ritzen.
Leschetizky composed over a hundred characteristic piano pieces, two operas: Die Brüder von San Marco and Die Erste Falte, thirteen songs and a one-movement piano concerto. Opus numbers were given to 49 works.
Although his piano pieces are primarily smaller works in the salon music vein, they are expressively lyrical on the one hand while exploiting the piano's technical capabilities to great effect on the other. Most of his music has been out of print since the early twentieth century except for the Andante Finale, Op. 13 (a paraphrase for piano left hand on the famous sextet from the opera Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti); and Les deux alouettes, Op. 2, No. 1.
His most important legacy is as the main teacher of numerous great pianists such as Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Aline van Barentzen, Ernesto Bérumen, Alexander Brailowsky, Ignaz Friedman, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, Florence Parr Gere, Katherine Goodson, Mark Hambourg, Helen Hopekirk, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, Edwin Hughes, Frank La Forge, Mabel Lander, Ethel Leginska, Frank Merrick, Benno Moiseiwitsch, Elly Ney, Marie Novello, John Powell, Auguste de Radwan, Artur Schnabel, Richard Singer, Józef Śliwiński, Isabelle Vengerova, Maria Wilhelmj, Paul Wittgenstein, Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler and many others.