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Mark Hambourg (1879 - 1960)


Mark Hambourg came from an extremely musical family. His father, Michael (1855–1916) was a pianist and teacher who had studied at the St Petersburg and Moscow Conservatories with Nicolas Rubinstein and Sergei Taneyev. He moved his family to London in 1890, thence to Canada in 1910 where a year later he founded the Hambourg Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Mark’s first teacher of the piano was his father; later, he wrote in his autobiography, ‘My father never drove me, though I had a great natural facility and learnt in four days at the age of seven The Lark by Glinka/Balakirev, a work too difficult for me.’ As a child prodigy Hambourg appeared in Moscow in 1888 playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D minor K. 466, and made his London debut the following year at the age of ten playing works that included Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue and Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in A flat Op. 26. Being a prodigy, Hambourg was advertised with the diminutive ‘Max’ until he reached maturity.

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