Reisenberg, Nadia (1904–1983)

views updated

Reisenberg, Nadia (1904–1983)

Lithuanian-American pianist who had a long career teaching at the Mannes College of Music, the Juilliard School, Queens College, and the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem. Born Nina Reisenberg in Vilna (now Vilnius), Russian Lithuania, on July 14, 1904; died in New York City on June 10, 1983; sister of Clara Rockmore (1910–1998); children: Robert Sherman (a pianist).

Nadia Reisenberg was born Vilna (now Vilnius), Russian Lithuania, in 1904. She studied with Leonid Nicolaiev (1878–1942), who also taught Dmitri Shostakovich and Maria Yudina , at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. In 1922, she immigrated with her family, including her sister Clara Rockmore , to New York as a refugee from Soviet Russia. At her New York debut at the Aeolian Hall in 1924, Reisenberg played Paderewski's Polish Fantasy with the composer himself in the audience. Her talent attracted not only Paderewski but noted piano virtuosos like Josef Hofmann and the leading conductors of the day. She was a musicianly pianist who recorded several neglected works, including Tchaikovsky's Piano Sonata and Paderewski's Polish Fantasy. Her son, Robert Sherman, was a gifted pianist who sometimes played duos with his mother in concert but eventually left performing behind to become executive producer of New York's classical music radio station WQXR. Reisenberg had a long career as a teacher at the Mannes College of Music, the Juilliard School, Queens College of the City University of New York, and the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem. Her distinguished students included Richard Goode and the conductor Myung-Whun Chung. She died in New York City on June 10, 1983. There is an extensive Nadia Reisenberg collection at the International Piano Archives at the University of Maryland. In September 1989, her former students and admirers paid tribute to her memory in New York in a program entitled "Nadia Reisenberg—A Joyful Remembrance."


Dubal, David. The Art of the Piano. NY: Summit Books, 1989.

"Music," in The New Yorker. Vol. 65, no. 33. October 2, 1989, p. 24.

Schonberg, Harold C. The Great Pianists. Rev. ed. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1987.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia