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Moritz Moszkowski

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Moritz (Maurice, Maurycy) Moszkowski (23 August 1854 – 4 March 1925) was a German-Jewish composer, pianist and teacher of Polish descent on his paternal side only.

The Jewish pianist Moritz Moszkowski was German-born, but always claimed Polish nationality. A child prodigy, Moszkowski entered the Dresden conservatory at age 11, and from there moved on to Berlin where he studied piano with Eduard Frank and Theodore Kullak and composition with Friedrich Kiel. Kullak was so impressed by Moszkowski that he made the latter an instructor at the Neue Akademie der Tonkunst; Moszkowski was then only 17 years of age, and he remained in this position until 1896. In 1873, Moszkowski made his debut appearance in Berlin and swiftly rose through ranks to recognition as one of the top piano virtuosi in Europe. In 1875, Moszkowski premiered his First Piano Concerto; soon after the premiere, Franz Liszt joined performed a two-piano version with him.

By the mid-1880s, Moszkowski was suffering from nerves and began to curtail his recital activity in favor of composing, conducting and teaching. His many published compositions proved very popular in the era of salon pianism, and netted the composer a handsome income. These included the Serenata Op. 15/1, Concert Studies Op. 24, Caprice Espagnol Op. 37, Etincelles Op. 36/6 and Guitarre Op. 45/2. Moszkowski’s music for piano duet was especially popular, in particular the Spanish Dances Opp. 12, 21, and 65. Early in his career Moszkowski had some success with orchestral music as well, but these pieces remained largely unpublished and most are now lost.

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