Text Box: PIANIST autographs


Phone: 212-860-5541  *  Fax: 917-677-8247


Price: $150.00



Autographed 8” x 10” photograph by each of the pianists, Reading, Pennsylvania, October 21,1943.  The Quartet in that iteration included founders Vladimir Padwa and Adam Garner, and new comers Franz Mittler and Edward Edson.

The quartet was founded in 1941 as a weekly NBC radio program.  They were so popular that after a few months their show became a twice weekly program.  Their success led to Nation wide concert tours which began in the 1950’s.  Garner’s New York Times obituary stated he played his final concert with the group in the year of his death in South Carolina.  Interestingly they did not make their New York concert debut until 1949; of course at Carnegie Hall.  Padwa was the lead member of the quartet and Garner wrote the transcriptions for 4 pianos.  They made numerous recordings several of which are on Youtube; Garner’s manuscripts are at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Vladimir Padwa (1900-1981) was born in Russia and spent his formative years in Estonia where he became a citizen in 1917.  Padwa studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, privately with Ferruccio Busoni in Berlin, where he was his last pupil and with Busoni’s pupil, American pianist Michael Zadora at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik and received a Masters degree from the Leipzig Conservatory.  He lived in London and Berlin thereafter.  In 1932, Padwa was the director and performer of the first all electronic music concert in cooperation with Bechstein.  The success of the concert led to a six month contract for concerts in America on the Bechstein electronic piano on the RKO radio network.  He premiered electronic music in the United States.  Padwa toured as Mischa Elman’s accompanist from 1934 to 1940.  In 1941 he founded the First Piano Quartet with Adam Garner, George Robert and Henry Holt.  Robert and Holt were quickly replaced by Mittler and Edson as they were drafted into the war.  He was chairman of the New York College of Music which eventually became part of NYU.  Padwa who taught until the end of his life was also a composer.

Adam Garner (1898-1969) was born in Warsaw.  He studied at the Warsaw Conservatory with Aleksandr Michalowski and in Berlin with Xaver Scharwenka.  Garner was on the concert circuit in Europe and  arrived in the United States in 1936.  He helped found the First Piano Quartet and wrote some 500 8 hand arrangements for their performances on the radio and in concert.  His most famous work outside the Quartet was “The Wrong Note Polka”.

Franz Mittler (1893-1970) was from Vienna.  He studied there as a violinist with Deutsch and Stock, making his debut in 1902 playing violin to 7 year old Clara Haskil’s piano.  He then moved to Theodor Leschetiszky to study piano and theory with Josef Labor who taught the same to Arnold Schoenberg.  He studied composition with Richard Hüberger and Karl Pohaska.  Further studied included conducting with Fritz Steinbach and piano with Carl Friedberg.  After serving in the Austrian Army during World War I, he studied voice, then guitar.  He then began a career as a composer and a concert violinist  After Kristalnacht, he left Austria, making his way to the United States and joined the First Piano Quartet in 1943.

Edward Edson (1921-2003) was the youngest member of the group.  Edson hailed from Chicago and moved to New York City in the early 1940’s.  After his time with the First Piano Quartet he became a piano teacher.

A rather uncommon autographed photograph to be signed by all four.