Potter, Philip Cipriani Hambly



Pianist and teacher; born and died at London. He came from a musical family, and at seven years of age began to study the piano with his father, a teacher of repute in London. Later was a pupil of Attwood in counterpoint, Callcott and Crotch in theory, and for five years of Woelfl. In 1816 an overture of his was played at a Philharmonic concert, and shortly afterward he made his debut at a performance of that society. His works were coldly received and he went to Vienna, where during 1817 and 1818, he studied under Forster and held friendly intercourse with Beethoven, who commended his work. In 1821 he became professor of piano at the Royal Academy of Music, and from 1832 to 1859 was principal of that institution. He trained many pupils who later attained eminence, and set the Academy on a sure financial basis. From 1858 to 1865 he was treasurer of the Society of British Musicians. He did not give up his conductorship of the Madrigal Society, given him in 1855, until 1870. He also frequently directed the Philharmonic concerts and made a fine reputation as a conductor as well as a pianist. His works are now nearly all neglected. He wrote nine symphonies; four overtures; three concertos; a concertante; sonatas, for piano solo, and a sonata di bravura; fantasias; two toccatas; six sets of variations; transcriptions; and many other compositions for piano. He also edited the Complete Piano Works of Mozart, and Schumann's Album fur die Jugend, and wrote Recollections of Beethoven. His Hints on Orchestration appeared in the Musical World in 1836. Only a few months before his death he played at a private concert in the first performance of Brahms' requiem in London. An exhibition or scholarship, bearing his name, was founded at the Royal Academy of Music.