Heller, Stephen


An accomplished pianist and composer of merit. Heller was born in Budapest, the son of a musician of ability. His first instructor in piano after his father was F. Brauer. At the age of nine years he played in public with success; was sent to Vienna to study with Czerny and later continued his study under Anton Halm. In 1829 with his father he toured Hungary, Poland and Germany, and then settled in Augsburg. He was adopted by a wealthy family of Augsburg, and in 1838 went to Paris, making that city his permanent residence. Heller appeared in England in 1850 at the Beethoven rooms and again in 1862 at Crystal Palace with Halle in Mozart's concerto in E flat for two pianos. He died in Paris in 1888. Heller was popular both in France and England. His thoughtful, refined playing, early won for him recognition as a pianist, but though his studies for piano are among the best we have and are in universal use, as a composer he gained ground more slowly. His first publication was a set of variations. Other publications are the Etudes and Preludes, together with several series of small pieces under quaint titles, which give .a clue to the poetic treatment of the melodies. Two of the best known of these are Promenades d'un Solitaire; and also Blumen-Frucht-und-DornenStücke, from Jean Paul. The set of Pensees fugitives for piano and violin, which have merited and met with success among amateur players, Heller composed with the assistance of Ernst. Heller's compositions are known for their exquisite finish, original thematic treatment, fine melody, forceful rhythm and poetic sentiment.