Klindworth, Karl

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Klindworth, Karl

Klindworth, Karl, eminent German pianist, conductor, pedagogue, and editor; b. Hannover, Sept. 25, 1830; d. Stolpe, near Potsdam, July 27, 1916. He learned to play violin and piano as a child, and obtained work as conductor of a traveling opera company when he was only 17. After travels in Germany as a concert pianist, he went to Weimar to study with Liszt (1852–53). In 1854 he went to London, where he remained until 1868, establishing himself as a popular piano teacher. When Wagner was in London in 1855, they became friends; as a result of his admiration for Wagner, Klindworth undertook the most important work of his life, the arrangement in vocal scores of Wagner’s tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen. In 1868 he was engaged as a prof, at the newly founded Moscow Cons, at the invitation of its director, Nikolai Rubinstein. After Rubinstein’s death in 1881, Klindworth returned to Germany, and from 1882 to 1987, was one of the principal conductors of the Berlin Phil. In 1884 he established in Berlin his own Klavierschule, which, in 1893, was merged with the Scharwenka Cons, in Berlin, as Konservatorium der Musik Klindworth-Scharwenka, which became one of the most famous music schools in Germany. Klindworth was an exceptionally competent arranger and music ed. Apart from his masterly transcriptions of Wagner’s operas, he made an arrangement for 2 pianos of Schubert’s C major Sym. He also wrote a number of virtuoso pieces for piano, of which the brilliant Polonaise-Fantaisie and 24 grand études in all keys enjoyed some vogue among pianists.


H. Leichtentritt, Das Konservatorium der Musik K.-Scharwenka, 1881-1931 (Berlin, 1931).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire