Carreno, Teresa


One of the most eminent of women pianists, who was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and whose musical career was most successful. Her father was at one time Minister of Finance and a musician, who at fourteen years of age, composed a mass that was given in the Cathedral. He was a talented violinist, as well as a pianist, and began giving his little daughter lessons in music when she was only seven. Driven from his country by the civil war, he caused her to turn her extraordinary talents to account, and in New York she was hailed as a prodigy. At eight years of age she became the pupil of Louis Gottschalk, and at twelve was sent to Paris, where she became a pupil of George Mathias, who had been a pupil of Chopin. Here she attracted the attention of Liszt who would have liked to instructed her, had her father's means permitted. He encouraged and advised her, and early in her career she took front rank among the world's pianists, but for a time studied singing and appeared with Tietjens on the stage. Eventually she went back to the piano. In 1885 she conducted the orchestra of her own opera company which she had organized and taken to Caracas. The leader engaged left the company because of threats from the revolutionists and Carreno took up the baton and finished the season, as leader, with great success. She traveled through Germany and other countries and made an especially successful tour of the United States with her husband, Emil Sauret. This was in 1874. In 1875 she made her first appearance on the stage, when she sang the role of the Queen in Les Huguenots, a part she had learned at three days' notice. Her compositions all rank high and she has published a number of works, among them a serenade; a hymn for the Bolivar Centennial, which has become the national song of Venezuela; a set of waltzes; fantasies; ballads ; and songs without words. Her best work was a string quartet in B, which met with a warm reception in Leipsic. Carreno was married three times and each time to a musician. Her first husband was Emil Sauret, the eminent composer and violinist, whom she divorced. She then married a singer named Tagliapietra, with whom she appeared under the management of Maurice Strakosch. She was divorced from him, and, in 1892, she married Eugen D' Albert, the well-known composer, from whom she parted three years later. Prior to her separation from D'Albert she played his compositions on all her tours, doing much to further their success. It is from 1889, when she reappeared as a pianist, that her fame developed. Best known because of her great skill as a performer on the piano, her work as a composer has placed her on a high plane as well.