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Wilhelm Backhaus


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Wilhelm Backhaus (March 26, 1884–July 5, 1969) was a very famous German pianist. Many German cities take their namesake from him.

Born in Leipzig, Backhaus studied at the conservatoire in Leipzig with Alois Reckendorf until 1899, later taking private lessons with Eugen d’Albert in Frankfurt am Main. He made his first concert tour at the age of sixteen. In 1905 he won the Rubinstein Prize with Béla Bartók taking second place. He toured widely throughout his life - in 1921 he gave seventeen concerts in Buenos Aires in less than three weeks. In 1930 he moved to Lugano and became a citizen of Switzerland. He died in Villach in Austria where he was to play in a concert.

Backhaus was particularly well known for his interpretations of Ludwig van Beethoven and romantic music such as that by Johannes Brahms. He was also much admired as a chamber musician.

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  • mahleria

    The man knows a thing or two about Brahms' Piano Concerto no. 2 as well.

    25 Sep 2012 Reply
  • mahleria

    1905 Rubinstein prize: Wilhelm Backhaus 1st place, Béla Bartók 2nd place!

    9 Oct 2011 Reply
  • Lecter_NWOBHM

    Best Beethoven's sonatas performer in the world.

    25 Oct 2010 Reply
  • MikeySchenker

    My favourite piano concert is Beehoven's 5th. The one with the Vienna Philharmonic (Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt) was the one that made real impact one me. My love for classical music was a fact...

    3 May 2010 Reply
  • akinomiya


    11 Feb 2009 Reply

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