Wilhelm Kempff

Wilhelm Kempff, born 1895 in Brandenburg, grew up in Potsdam. During school he studied at the Berlin Music University, where he became student of Heinrich Barth, the pupil of Tausig and Bülow (piano). In 1918 he debuted at the Berlin Philharmonic under Arthur Nikisch. His first solo tour abroad led Wilhelm Kempff in 1919 to Finland and Sweden, in 1920 his first record recordings appeared. Wilhelm Furtwängler conducted in 1924 the world premiere of the second Symphony by Wilhelm Kempff. In Potsdam 1930 he played the first of his concert cycles totalling more than 50 with Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas. From Wilhelm Kempff comes the well-known citation: "I consider myself lucky to live in the age of Bechstein." After the end of the war he once again presented concerts worldwide. His annual Beethoven interpretation courses in the southern Italian city Positano were famous. Wilhelm Kempff died 1991 in Positano.