Text Box: PIANIST autographs
Text Box: HARMONIE AUTOGRAPHS AND MUSIC INC.

MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS & ANTIQUARIAN
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Phone: 212-860-5541  *  Fax: 917-677-8247

 

Price: $650.00

NEAR MINT CONDITION

ALEXANDER LAMBERT - PIANIST

Autographed watercolor self-caricature by the important Polish born, American pianist and Liszt pupil in a folk-art style, 1907.  The piece measures 7” x 9”.

Lambert (1862-1929) was an important musical figure in New York City at the end of the 19th Century and the first three decades of the 20th Century.  Born in Poland, he began his piano studies with his Father Henry at 9.  A natural, he progressed so quickly he was brought to Anton Rubinstein who saw his talent and promise and then to Theodor Leschetiszky, who saw the same and recommended him to Julius Epstein at the Vienna Conservatory. He studied piano with Epstein and composition with Anton Bruckner. Graduating with high honors and a gold medal at 17 in 1879. His parents decided to emigrate to America the same year and he spent the next three years studying piano on his own and returned to Europe in 1881 on tour in Germany and Russia, which at that time included Poland.  In addition to his solo concerts and appearances with orchestra, he also accompanied violinists Joseph Joachim, Teresina Tua and Pablo Sarasate.  He was heard on his tour by compatriot and fellow pianist Moritz Moszkowski who befriended him, guided him, dedicated a work to him and recommended him to Franz Liszt, for further study at Weimar.  He remained with Liszt until 1883 when he took a position at Kullak’s school in Berlin, the Neue Musik Akademie.  Returning to American in 1884 where he begun a concert tour both as soloist and with orchestra.  His American debut was in 1885 under the direction of composer and conductor Frank van der Stucken, a protégé of Liszt with the Arion Society Orchestra at Steinway Hall.  We have found records of Lambert performing the Saint Saëns 1st Concerto under Wilhelm Gericke and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1885, Liszt’s Totentanz with Liszt’s arrangement of Erlkönig in 1889 with the Walter Damrosch and the New York Symphony at the Metropolitan Opera House.  There was a second concert with Damrosch and the New York Symphony in 1891 where he performed the Chopin F Minor Concerto, as well as accompanied several singers in lieder on the same bill.  Lambert also performed with Wagner disciple Anton Siedl and his crack orchestra who gave regular Summer concerts at the Brighton Beach Music Hall in 1891.  In addition, he performed solo concerts in New York City, Boston, Chicago and other major cities.  In 1885 he took on his first pupils and joined the New York College of Music.  In 1887, he was made the second Director. The staff included Theodore Thomas, Rafael Joseffy,   His goal was to create a school of music in the style of the Vienna Conservatory in America.  At the time, those who could afford it, sent their musical prodigies to Europe to train.  Lambert’s new school helped to keep many budding musicians here in the United States.  Carl Flesch in his autobiography credits Lambert and only two others for building the programs and reputation of music schools in America. Among other things, Lambert hired his friend Leopold Godowsky to teach at the Conservatory in 1890. (Godowsky dedicated several works to him including his famous Humoreske in B flat to Lambert.  He moved the Conservatory to a new building in 1891.  Other important hires included, pianist Hubert de Blanck, composer Rubin Goldmark, critic and musicologist William Henderson,  composer Edgar Stillman Kelley and cellist Hans Kronold.  The Conservatory in 1968 was acquired by New York University and was a major addition to their music department.  Lambert remained Director there for 18 years, teaching among others, Felix Ardnt, Katherine Eyman, Jerome Kern, Enrique Ros, Nadia Reisenberg and Mana Zucca.  As a teacher, Lambert was apparently strict but fair.  He wrote notable treatises on piano pedagoguery and would not allow his most advanced pupils practice more then four hours per day.  His concert engagements by this time became less frequent, however, he did accompany Alma Gluck in her early years and took her when in France to meet an elderly Jean de Reszke who accepted her as a pupil.  He became great friends with pianist Josef Hofmann and at times acted as his translator.  Hofmann whilst Director of the Curtis Institute hired Lambert to teach at the school in his last years. His death in 1929 was due to a traffic accident whilst carrying a birthday cake to Hofmann’s wife. 

A unique item. By the way, every photograph we could find of the period shows Lambert with gray hair, despite the fact he was only 45 at the time of this self portrait. He was among a long line of talented musicians who excelled in interesting hobbies!