Rudolf Ganz

Composers

Biography

Born: February 24, 1877; Zurich, Switzerland   Died: August 2, 1972; Chicago, IL  
Swiss pianist Rudolf Ganz acquired a reputation for comprehensive musicianship, an authority that embraced composition and pedagogy with equal ease and allowed for a career as a conductor somewhat less distinguished. Extensive training laid the foundation for a career that extended from Europe to America, especially in the Central United States. His status in Chicago, where he administered one of the nation's most-respected music schools, became Read more that of elder statesman. Ganz studied both cello and piano as a youth at the Zurich Conservatory. His first public performance took place as a cellist at age ten. Cello lessons with Friedrich Hegar were followed by piano lessons with Robert Freund and Carl Eschmann-Dumur, the latter his great uncle. In 1894, he performed as soloist with the Lausanne Municipal Orchestra while a student at the Lausanne Conservatory. Further studies took place at the Strasbourg Conservatory before Ganz traveled to Berlin to undergo training under composer and piano virtuoso Ferruccio Busoni. Ganz made his debut as pianist in December 1899 when he appeared as soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic in an ambitious program holding piano concertos by Beethoven, Chopin, and Liszt. Despite the mammoth challenge, Ganz won the approval of critics and audience alike. The reviewer from the Berliner Morgenpost praised his performance in extravagant terms: "An even, masterful technique; a beautiful large, warm, and poetic tone; a faultless memory; and absolute seriousness are qualities this artist holds in a thoroughly complete measure." The year following this success, the young artist directed the same orchestra in a performance of his symphony to further encouraging reviews. Ganz thereupon embarked on a European tour as a piano soloist, following that with a journey to America where he became head of the piano department of the Chicago Musical College. He remained in that post for five years during which time he made his American debut as pianist in Chicago on May 10, 1902. After relinquishing his position at the Chicago Musical College, Ganz appeared in New York (with the New York Symphony Society) and Boston. His successes in those two musical centers led to extensive touring in America and Europe during which he championed the music of Ravel, Busoni, Bartók, D'Indy, Dohnányi, Alkan, and prompted a re-evaluation of the piano works of American composer Edward MacDowell. Critics noted the qualities he had developed as a pupil of Busoni: strength, clarity, and emotion balanced by intellectual inquiry. Although his reputation as pianist and teacher was by then secure, Ganz nurtured his ambitions to become a conductor by accepting an offer to guest direct the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in 1921. The following year, he was given a contract to become the orchestra's permanent conductor and began a six-year tenure. During his time there, Ganz introduced a series of children's concerts and took the orchestra on tours of the Western and Southwestern United States. Ganz eventually resigned his position in St. Louis to return to the Chicago Musical College as its director. In 1934, he was appointed president and remained with the institution until 1954, also undertaking at various times during that period guest-conducting engagements with the major orchestras of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, and Denver. With the San Francisco Symphony and the New York Philharmonic, he led series of children's concerts. Among Ganz's compositions are his symphony, various orchestral works, a piano concerto, and several hundred songs of considerable quality. Read less
Browse 1-1 of 1 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Rudolf Ganz Am Klavier Und Als Dirigent
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2377 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Adolf Jensen,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Rudolf Ganz
    Conductor:  Rudolf Ganz
    CD: $9.99
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