Tag Archives: piano

Charles Valentin Alkan

Charles-Henri Valentin Morhange was a precocious child who played the piano at the age of five and gave his first public performance at seven. He was the second of six children of an old Ashkenazi family that for centuries had lived near the town of Metz in Alsace. Born in Paris in 1813, he later […]

Felix Mendelssohn, musical prodigy

Oil portrait of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, painted in 1846 by Eduard Magnus. From the Berlin State Library. Via Wikimedia. Felix Mendelssohn made his musical debut at age nine. Born in Hamburg in 1809, he came from a distinguished German family that moved to Berlin in 1902. His grandfather and father had been successful businessmen who […]

Franz Liszt, best piano player in Europe

Composer and pianist Franz Liszt. Photo by Franz Hanfstaengl. 1858. Via Wikimedia. Like Mozart and Mendelssohn, Franz Liszt was a musical prodigy. He played the piano when he was five years old. At eight, he could read difficult music, and two years later he was composing music himself. By age twelve he was ranked one […]

An unseen border

T.Y. Euliano Gainesville, Florida, United States   Eyes of the Master. Photo by Steve Robicsek, MD/PhD. 11/6/2004. Permission granted by the artist. “Please let me have the chest pain in 3,” I said. “I can’t take any more whiny kids today.” Clare raised an eyebrow. “You can have the next trauma.” “Two traumas,” she said. […]

Medicine, musically

Willem Blois Halifax, Nova Scotia   Robert Pope, Visitors (1989) “This painting is like a psychological ecosystem, where the worlds of healthy and sick meet.” (Pope 1991) I sat on the piano bench, head down, staring at the space between middle C and the key above it. I could see my teacher out of the […]

Sergei Rachmaninov, the pianist with very big hands

Sergei Rachmaninov, the famous Russian composer, pianist, and composer, was born in 1873 into a family that descended from the Moldavian prince Stephen the Great. At age four he began piano lessons and already displayed remarkable talent. He was sent to study music at the St. Petersburg Conservatory when ten years old, and, upon being […]