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Wilhelm Kempff (1895 - 1991)

Wilhelm Kempff started his career in Postsdam. In 1899 his father was appointed Royal Music Director and Cantor of the Church of St. Nicholas in Jüterbog near Potsdam and with unavoidable interruptions Wilhelm Kempff remained a resident until 1945. In 1931 with his colleagues he drew international musical attention to Potsdam, when the German Music Institute for Foreigners arranged masterclasses for professional performers in the Marmorpalais. Kempff’s courses were, until 1944, extremely popular. In 1945 he left the city, abandoning his property but retaining hope for a unified Germany and a return to Potsdam. Until 1955 he lived in Thurnau, and from then until 1986 in Ammerland on the Starnberger See and in the Italian town of Positano, which gradually became his home and where he settled in 1986. In spite of his busy concert career at home and abroad, his broadcasts and recordings, he did not give up his concerts in Potsdam, which continued after his departure. In 1956 he established in Positano the Potsdam tradition of mastercourses and founded international summer courses for the interpretation of Beethoven.




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