Ganz, Rudolph

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Ganz, Rudolph

Ganz, Rudolph, distinguished Swiss-American pianist, conductor, and pedagogue; b. Zurich, Feb. 24, 1877; d. Chicago, Aug. 2, 1972. He studied music assiduously, first as a cellist (with Friedrich Hegar), then as a pianist (with Robert Freund) in Zurich; also took composition lessons with Charles Blanchet at the Lausanne Cons. In 1897–98 he studied piano with F. Blumer in Strasbourg, and in 1899 took a course in advanced piano playing with Busoni in Berlin. He made his first public appearance at the age of 12 as a cellist, and at 16 as a pianist. In 1899 he was the soloist in Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto and Chopin’s E-minor Concerto with the Berlin Phil., and in May 1900 the Berlin Phil, performed his 1st Sym. In 1901 he went to the U.S. and was engaged as a prof. of piano at the Chicago Musical Coll.; between 1905 and 1908 he made several tours of the U.S. and Canada, and from 1908 to 1911 toured Europe. After 1912 he toured in both Europe and America. From 1921 to 1927 he was music director of the St. Louis Sym. Orch.; from 1938 to 1949 he conducted a highly successful series of Young People’s Concerts with the N.Y Phil.; concurrently (1929–54) he served as director of the Chicago Musical Coll. He played first performances of many important works, including those of Busoni, Ravel, and Bartok. He was a highly successful pedagogue, and continued to teach almost to the time of his death, at the age of 95. Besides the early sym., he wrote a lively suite of 20 pieces for Orch., Animal Pictures (Detroit, Jan. 19, 1933, composer conducting), a Piano Concerto (Chicago, Feb. 20, 1941, composer soloist), LaughterYet Love, Overture to an Unwritten Comedy (1950), solo piano pieces, and about 200 songs to German, French, English, Swiss, and Alsatian texts. He publ. Rudolph Ganz Evaluates Modern Piano Music (N.Y, 1968).


J. Collester, R. G.: A Musical Pioneer (Metuchen, N.J., 1995).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire