Mieczysław Horszowski (June 23, 1892 – May 22, 1993) was a Polish pianist who had the longest career in the history of the performing arts.

Horszowski was born in Lviv (Lemberg), Austria-Hungary, (now Ukraine) and was initially taught by his mother, a pupil of Karol Mikuli (himself a pupil of Frédéric Chopin). He became a pupil of Theodor Leschetizky in Vienna at the age of seven; Leschetizky had studied with Beethoven's pupil Carl Czerny.

In 1901 he gave a performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 in Warsaw and soon after toured Europe and the Americas as a child prodigy. In 1905 the young Horszowski played to Gabriel Fauré and met Camille Saint-Saëns in Nice. In 1911 Horszowski put his performing career on hold in order to devote himself to literature, philosophy and art history in Paris.

Having returned to the concert stage with the encouragement of Pablo Casals, he settled in Milan after the First World War. After the Second World War he frequently gave recitals with artists such as Casals, Alexander Schneider, Joseph Szigeti and the Budapest Quartet. He often appeared at the Prades Festival and the Marlboro Festival. From 1940 he lived in New York City. In 1957 Horszowski gave a memorable cycle of Beethoven's entire solo works in New York, and in 1960 of Mozart's piano sonatas. His very diverse and extensive repertoire also embraced such composers as Honegger, d'Indy, Martinů, Stravinsky, Szymanowski and Villa-Lobos. In 1979, on a restored Cristofori pianoforte, the pianist recorded the music of Lodovico Giustini, which were commissioned by Cristofori and are the first known compositions written for the pianoforte.[1]

Horszowski was widely recorded, and can be heard on the HMV, Columbia, RCA, Deutsche Grammophon, Nonesuch, and other labels. He also taught at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, counting among his pupils Richard Goode, Anton Kuerti, Murray Perahia, Peter Serkin, Steven De Groote, Kathryn Selby and Eugene Pridonoff.

Horszowski continued performing occasionally until shortly before his death, which occurred in Philadelphia one month before his 101st birthday.

Whilst Mieczysław Horszowski's family was of Jewish origin (which made him a fugitive from Europe in the 1930s), he was himself an early convert to Roman Catholicism, and a very devout one. As the French critic André Tubeuf has written (in his notes to the EMI re-issue of Horszowski's 1930s-era recordings of the Beethoven cello sonatas with Pablo Casals), "Horszowski was both very Jewish and very Catholic, in both cases as only a Pole could have been."

In 1981, the 89-year-old Horszowski married Bice Costa, an Italian pianist. Bice later edited Horszowski's memoirs and a volume of his mother's correspondence about Horszowski's early years. She also recovered and recorded some songs composed by Horszowski on French texts ca. 1913-1914.


External links

ro:Mieczysław Horszowski ru:Хоршовский, Мечислав fi:Mieczysław Horszowski

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