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Autographed and inscribed original 7” x 9.25” matte, double-weight Jorge Opazo of Santiago reverse blind stamped photograph, San Juan Puerto Rico, 1939.  The photograph is dedicated to the Pro Arts Musical of Puerto Rico.

Arrau (1903-1991) was one of the finest exponents of the German Romantic piano tradition of the 20th Century.  Trained initially by his pianist Mother in Chile, it soon became apparent that he was in fact a genuine prodigy and beyond where she could lead him.  Was wealthy, however in 1911, the Chilean Government sent him to Germany on a 10 year grant.  He became a pupil of Liszt’s pupil Martin Krause at the Stern Conservatory.  Krause, who did not take payment for the boys musical education became in loco parentis and treated him as a grandson.  Krause also introduced the young pianist to his musical friends in Germany, including his idols, Ferrucio Busoni, Teresa Carreño and Eugen D’Albert. Arrau won the Liszt Prize the following year in 1916 and also in 1917.  He also won the Ibach Prize and the Gustav Hollander Medal.   Krause died in 1918 and left the 15 year old Arrau without a teacher.  That said, Krause’s teaching stood and Arrau never took another lesson.  The pianist started touring Europe as a recitalist and with orchestra at the age of 11, he played with Artur Nikisch and the Leipzig Gewandhaus at the age of 12 and at the age of 17.  Arrau also played with Karl Muck and the Berlin Philharmonic and his London debut in 1920 at Aeolian Hall and played there again in 1922 with Nellie Melba and Bronislaw Hubermann.  He made his American debut at Carnegie Hall in 1923 and also played with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  Arrau was also given a teaching post at the Stern Conservatory where he taught from 1924 to 1940.  In 1927 he won the International Pianist’s Competition in Geneva.  With he career assured, Arrau became one of the top draws on the International circuit.  In 1935 Arrau played the entire solo keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach in 12 Berlin concerts which was a huge success  and a year later he did the same for Mozart there.  In 1938 in Mexico City Arrau played a complete Beethoven Sonata Cycle and also played the 5 Concertos.  He spent 1939 touring South and Central America which includes concerts in San Juan where this photograph was signed.  Arrau fled Germany in 1940 and lived in New York and Vermont for the rest of his life.

A bit of oxidation as seen in the image above, yet a wonderful portrait of the then 36 year old virtuoso.

Photographer Jorge Opazo (1908-1979) established Studio Opazo in Santiago, Chile in 1930. A renowned portrait photographer, he was the official photographer to the Chilean Presidents.  He is considered one of the first “modern photographers” of the Western hemisphere.  Opazo was also the cultural attaché to France of the Chilean Government from 1955-1958.  Known for his lighting, angles and smooth backgrounds, he had numerous shows in Chile and Internationally.