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Carl Tausig

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Biography

Carl Tausig or Karl Tausig (4 November 1841 – 17 July 1871) was a Polish pianist and composer.

Tausig was born in Warsaw to Jewish parents and received his first piano lessons from his father, pianist and composer Aloys Tausig, a student of Sigismond Thalberg. His father introduced him to Franz Liszt in Weimar at the age of 14. He quickly became a favorite pupil of Liszt’s, travelling with him on concert tours and studying counterpoint, composition and orchestration in addition to his piano lessons. At the age of 16 he met Richard Wagner, of whom he became a devoted follower and friend. He also became a great admirer and friend of Johannes Brahms. Tausig made piano arrangements of many of Wagner’s operas. He also introduced to Wagner his friend Peter Cornelius, another Wagner devotee.

In 1858 Tausig made his debut in Berlin at a concert conducted by Hans von Bülow. While some critics admired his technical feats at the keyboard, others found his playing noisy and overbearing. Even some who were more accommodating of Tausig’s “Lisztian eccentricities” felt he would play better as he matured. Tausig toured through various German towns in 1859—60, making Dresden his base. He moved to Vienna in 1862; there he gave concerts of modern orchestral music, including some of his own symphonic poems. These concerts were only partially successful artistically and a failure financially. After staying out of public view for a few years, during which time he married pianist Seraphine von Vrabely, he began touring once again and was now considered a pianist of breadth and dignity of style.

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