Mission Impossible Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Désirée Artôt

The Belgian mezzo-soprano Désirée Artôt (1835-1907) studied with Pauline Viardot and Francesco Lamperti in London and in Paris. She started her career at the Paris Opera in 1858 when Giacomo Meyerbeer engaged her to sing in his Le prophète. Berlioz, [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | October 23rd, 2018
Enabling the Creative Process Franz Berwald and Mathilde Scherer

Franz Berwald just couldn’t wait to leave provincial Stockholm behind. With a number of compositions in his back pocket, he departed for Berlin in 1829 to follow his musical calling. He had some distant relatives in that city, and alongside [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 10th, 2018
Music of Evaporation—Love of Consequence Federico Mompou and Carmen Bravo

Never underestimate the power of laughter! When Catalan pianist Carmen Bravo was asked what made her fall in love with Federico Mompou (1893-1987), she quietly confessed, “He made me laugh.” Mompou was quiet, shy and introverted, and Bravo extroverted, outgoing [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | July 30th, 2018
Ole Bull and the American Senator’s daughter

He was one of the greatest performing artists of the 19th century! Ole Bull (1810-1880) was a child prodigy, and he gave his public debut as a soloist at age 9. Although intending to study theology and/or law, he decided [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | July 7th, 2018
“The Family is Excellent” Charles Gounod and Anna Zimmerman

Pierre-Joseph Zimmerman was well established on the Parisian musical scene as a retired Conservatoire piano professor with many accomplished students to his credit. Together with his beautiful wife Hortense and their four daughters, the family entertained a lively salon that [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | June 30th, 2018
Mikhail Glinka and Maria Petrovna “Marriage is like Counterpoint—Opposition and Contrary Motion”

Upon departing from Italy, Mikhail Glinka stopped in Berlin and took some counterpoint lessons from Siegfried Dehn. The study of counterpoint fueled his desire to write a national opera, as he wrote to a friend, “I have a project in [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | June 12th, 2018
The Roman Holiday Charles Gounod and Fanny Hensel

The most prestigious artistic scholarship in France, the “Prix de Rome,” was created in 1663. It originally was awarded in painting, sculpting and architecture, with music and engraving added in 1803 and 1804, respectively. The fortunate recipients, selected via a [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | June 8th, 2018
Debussy’s Wives: Rosalie Texier and Emma Bardac

As far as women were concerned, Claude Debussy was a bastard! “There was a woman at each crossroad of Debussy’s life,” Marcel Dietschy writes. “Certainly women of all ages seemed fascinated by him, and they attached themselves to him like [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | March 22nd, 2018