Gruenfeld, Alfred


Pianist and composer; was born at Prague, and gave his first concert at the age of twelve. He studied first under Hoger and Krejci, and afterward entered Kullak's Academy in Berlin, where he became a teacher at the age of seventeen. He was also a pupil of Liszt. From 1873 he has lived in Vienna, where he is a chamber-virtuoso. He has made long tours in Europe, particularly in Russia and France, and in the United States. He was appointed Court pianist to the Emperor of Austria and to the King of Prussia. He is said to be especially clever at imitating the style of almost every famous composer, from Bach to the moderns; taking a given theme and developing it in various ways, and sinking his own personality in that of each successive composer. It is also told of his endurance that he can play six hours at a sitting. His octave-playing is said to be unsurpassed since the death of Carl Tausig. He has received many badges and honors. His compositions are chiefly for piano, including a minuet; humoresque; octave-study; barcarolle; impromptu; and a Spanish serenade. His comic operas are at present succeeding in Europe. So far these operas are only two in number, Der Lebemann (The Rounder), and Die Schonen von Fogaras (The Belles of Fogaras). The latter was recently produced in Dresden. He has also composed numerous songs.