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Classicsonline Home » Artists » » Moiseiwitsch, Benno

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Benno Moiseiwitsch (1890 - 1963)


Benno Moiseiwitsch was one of seven children. His father was a farmer and his mother musically gifted. At the age of seven Benno began piano lessons with Dmitri Klimov at the Imperial School of Music in Odessa and two years later won the Anton Rubinstein Prize at the age of nine. By the age of fifteen Moiseiwitsch was already a fine pianist and he and his older brother John went to London where he was told at the Royal Academy of Music that he could be taught nothing. From London, Benno (and his brother) travelled to Vienna to play for the great pedagogue Theodor Leschetizky who rejected him, told him to practise more control and to return in a few months: Moiseiwitsch did this and was accepted. He studied with Leschetizky until he was eighteen, learning about the musical side of playing the piano and developing his individuality.

Moiseiwitsch made his official debut in Reading in 1908 and his London debut fourteen months later. The Bechstein Hall (later Wigmore Hall) recital was a great success and his career was launched. In 1914 Moiseiwitsch married violinist Daisy Kennedy and of their two daughters, Tanya became a well-known scenic designer. His second marriage in 1929 to Anita Gensburger lasted until her death in 1956 and produced one son.

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