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Enrico Mainardi (1897 - 1976)


Enrico Mainardi began cello lessons at the age of four. By the time he was eight he had publicly performed a Beethoven sonata and was launched as a child prodigy by his father, rather in the manner of Mozart. At thirteen he gave his London première in a Promenade concert conducted by Henry Wood and three years later is said to have captivated a Heidelberg audience at the Bach-Reger Festival with Bach’s Cello Suite in C.

World War I halted Mainardi’s touring for four years, precipitating a re-evaluation of his musicianship. He went to Rome’s Accademia di Santa Cecilia to study composition and piano, not daring to retrain on the cello until 1924. He then studied at the Berlin Hochschule with Hugo Becker, relearning all he had previously known and relaunching his solo career. In 1941, in fact, he succeeded Becker at the Berlin Hochscule, becoming known primarily as a teacher with a talent for spotting and, crucially, remedying bad habits and mental blocks in young players.

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