In his lifetime, Artur Schnabel (1882–1951) was a major influence in the world of music in many ways – as a pianist, teacher, composer and sheet-music publisher. He was critical of the concert business of his day, and preferred to plan his recital programs around the coherence of content, rather than just playing crowd-pleasers. One groundbreaking example of this was the first ever performance of all Beethoven’s piano sonatas, in 1927 in Berlin. Five years later he played the cycle again in London, then a second time in Berlin and, in 1936, in New York, where he was the first pianist ever to play a Bechstein on stage in the USA. His lifelong passion for the brand prompted him to record the full Beethoven cycle on a Bechstein grand piano. He once stated: “A Bechstein is a fulfillment for hand and ear.”
Toward the end of the 20th century, Artur Schnabel was back in the public consciousness as his compositions began to be played and published again. Currently, director Matthew Mishory is working on a documentary film about this great composer, together with pianist Markus Pawlik, a devotee of Artur Schnabel, as well as baritone Dietrich Henschel and the Szymanowski String Quartet (>> http://arturschnabelfilm.com/). Taking advantage of modern cinema technology, the documentary will present the places, landscapes and events that shaped Schnabel’s life and music, and include a tribute concert held in Berlin. It will give the world a chance to rediscover an artist who turned his back on Germany in the Nazi period, and yet had a huge influence on music in his time. The film is set to premiere in July, 2017.