Knorr, Iwan


Exceedingly popular teacher and composer; born at Mewe, Western Prussia. In 1856 his parents moved to Southern Russia and soon after his mother began giving him piano lessons. Living in small Russian towns, he heard only the Slav folk-music, until the removal of the family to Leipsic in 1868. His Leipsic surroundings fully decided Knorr to be  a musician, and he entered the Conservatory in 1869, studying composition with Reinecke, theory and counterpoint with Richter and piano with Moscheles. At the close of his Conservatory studies in 1874 Knorr went to Russia and became professor of music at the Imperial Institute for Noble Ladies and at the Conservatory at Charkov. While filling this position he wrote many compositions, some of which he submited to Brahms, who gave him great encouragement. Five years later Brahms' recommendation secured him the appointment of head master of composition of the Hoch Conservatory, Frankfort-on-the-Main, a position which he is still filling. As a teacher his wide knowledge and broadness of method leaves great play for the individuality of the student, while his conscientiousness and zeal inspire them to industry. His method of teaching composition is especially broad. He has written a number of compositions, variations on a Ukraine folk-song for orchestra, which Brahms warmly commended; two suites and a symphonic fantasie for orchestra; a piano quartet and trio; variations on a theme by Schumann; The Legend of Mary, for solos, chorus and orchestra; some Ukraine folk-songs for vocal quartet and piano; besides many other songs and piano-pieces. Another interesting composition is Dunja, a musical village ballad in two acts, which was given successfully at Coblentz in 1904, but which is still in manuscript. As an author he is represented by a life of Tschaikowsky and the text-book, Aufgaben fur den Unterricht in der Harmonielehre.