Artur Schnabel

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Artur Schnabel (April 17, 1882 – August 15, 1951) was an Austrian classical pianist, who also composed and taught. Schnabel was known for his intellectual seriousness as a musician, avoiding pure technical bravura. Among the 20th century's most respected and most important pianists, he displayed a vitality, profundity and spirituality in works by Beethoven and Schubert above all. His performances of these compositions have often been hailed as models of interpretative penetration; and his best-known recordings are those of the Beethoven piano sonatas.

Contents

Biography

The early years

Born in Kunzendorf, a small suburb of Bielitz, Galicia, in the Silesian part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (today Lipnik, Bielsko-Biała, Poland),[1][2] Schnabel was the youngest of three children born to Isidor Schnabel, a Jewish textile merchant, and his wife Ernestine (née Labin). He had two sisters, Clara and Frieda.[2][3]

The family moved to Vienna in 1884, when Schnabel was two. He began learning the piano at the age of four, when he took a spontaneous interest in his eldest sister Clara's piano lessons. His prodigious talent quickly became evident. At the age of six he began piano lessons under Professor Hans Schmitt of the Vienna Conservatorium (today the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna). Only three years later he was accepted as a pupil by the redoubtable and internationally celebrated piano pedagogue Theodor Leschetizky.[2][3]

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