Historical interpretations of Friderick Chopin works

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Jerzy Lalewicz - biography


Jerzy Lalewicz, a Polish pianist, was born on 21 August 1875 in Wylkowyszki, near Suwalki, and died on 1 December 1951 in Buenos Aires. He learned playing the piano at a music school in Suwalki. In 1894 he went to study in St Petersburg, where in 1897 he completed the law programme at the university, and in 1900 piano and composition studies at the conservatory. His piano tutor was Anna Esipova, whereas composition and theory was taught by Anatol Lyadov and Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov. In 1900, he won the third Anton Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Vienna. In April 1901, he performed in Warsaw, receiving much interest for his playing. Next, he toured Russia, and in St Petersburg the famous violinist Leopold Auer invited Lalewicz to play concerts with him. In autumn 1902, while still continuing his virtuoso career, he took up the position of a piano tutor at the conservatory in Odessa. In 1905, both stage and pedagogical successes resulted in Lalewicz being offered the position of a professor in higher piano classes at the Konserwatorium Towarzystwa Muzycznego in Krakow (The Conservatory of The Krakow Music Society). Soon Krakow's musical life was dominated by him; he often performed solo or in a duo with Henryk Melcer or Ignacy Friedman. In the concert season of 1909/1910 he toured widely in Germany and Austria, winning much admiration for his rich programmes of recitals and symphonic concerts. One of such great concerts was given on 27 November 1909 with the Berlin Orchestra, when he performed three piano concertos: the Henryk Melcer Concerto in C minor, the Beethoven Concerto in E flat major and the Liszt Concerto in E flat major. Critics then wrote: "his technical skills and musicality are in great balance. The freshness of his playing and some elegance captivate the audience as much as his tone rich in color does." In 1910 he sat on the jury of the Composers' Competition in Lemberg (L'viv), where Karol Szymanowski was awarded a prize for his Sonata No 1 in C minor Op. 8. Between 1912 and 1919 he lived in Vienna, where he held the position of a piano professor at the Academy of Music. In 1919, refusing to accept Austrian citizenship, he left Vienna and settled in Lvov (L'viv). In 1921 he emigrated via Paris to Buenos Aires, where he took the position of a piano professor at the Coservatorio National. His last concert in Poland took place in 1930. His last tour was made in 1948 in the United States. Lalewicz's wide-ranging repertoire included all Chopin's works and many contemporary compositions, for example by Ravel. He was also a keen promoter of works by Polish composers: Melcer, Paderewski, Franciszk Brzeziński, Jadwiga Sarnecka, Szymanowski, Juliusz Zarębski and others. His pupils included Zygmunt Dygat, Artur Hermelin, Mieczysław Munz, Leopold Munzer, Leon Podolski, Bronisław Poźniak, Artur Rodziński (conductor), Stanisław Schwarzenberg-Czerny, Kazimiera Drozdowska-Treterowa, Olga Stolfowa and Friedrich Wilcknens.

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