Friedheim, Arthur


Pianist of world-wide reputation, known as the "Liszt player," because of his long association with the musician and because he has so often played the compositions of Liszt. He was born at St. Petersburg, of German parents, who died while he was very young. Wealthy relatives at first assisted him to obtain an education, and while under their protection he studied for a year with Rubinstein. Financial reverses caused them to withdraw their support and from then on the ambitions young musical student struggled on alone and against heavy odds. His first public appearance was made when he was nine years of age, when he played Field's concerto in A flat. A few years later he went on a concert tour, and played before Liszt, who criticized him severely. It was only after three tours and after much study that he succeeded in pleasing Liszt. His appearance at the Blüthner Saal, at Leipsic, when he was heard by Liszt for the third time was a triumph. Later he lived for some time with the master, became one of his pupils, studying with him at Weimar, Rome and Budapest, and became a great interpreter of his works. Friedheim became conductor of a small opera company, and acted as conductor and director of various small theatre orchestras for several years before taking up his residence with Liszt. He played in London and Paris without attracting any particular attention. It was in Germany that his genius was first appreciated. Friedheim came to the United States in 1891, and was heard in many cities. He visited America again in 1894 with de Pachmann, and was offered the post left vacant by Anton Seidl as leader of the German Opera at New York, but was unable to accept :t. Friedheim was engaged by the Chicago College of Music to become a member of the staff in 1898. He was appointed professor of music in the Royal College of Music at Manchester, England, and held the post till 1904, when he resigned. In Berlin and Leipsic he established a reputation for being one of the greatest performers of the present age, and at the latter place he conducted a series of concerts in the Crystal Palace with the Weimar Orchestra. Mr. Friedheim has toured Russia, Austria, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, Egypt and England. For several years he has resided in New York City. His works comprise two operas, The Last Days of Pompeii and Die Tanzerin, and a concerto for piano and orchestra.