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Isidor Philipp (Composer, Arranger)

Born: September 2, 1863 - Budapest, Hungary
Died: February 20, 1958 - Paris, France

The eminent French pianist and pedagogue, composer and editor of Hungarian descent, Isidor Philipp, was taken to Paris as an infant. He studied piano with Georges Amadée St. Claire Mathias (himself a student of Kalkbrenner and Frédéric Chopin) at the Conservatoire National de Musique de Paris, finishing in 1883 with the 1st pianoforte prize. At the same time he had sought further assistance from Stephen Heller, Camille Saint-Saëns and the Franz Liszt pupil Théodore Ritter, and with this as his background he embarked upon a career as concert and recital pianist making appearances in most parts of Europe.

Isidor Philipp's concert career was brief, but he found his true vocation in teaching. From 1893 to 1934 he taught was a professor at the Conservatoire National de Musique de Paris, where he was appointed professor in 1903. There he was mentor to many notable pupils, including Albert Schweitzer. He was succeeded by Robert Casadesus. Philipp also taught at and the American Conservatory of Fontainebleau. In Paris he continued to perform, mostly in chamber music groups. In 1890 he formed a concert trio with Loeb and Berthelier, with which he gave a number of successful concerts. He revived the Société des Instruments de Vent during the years 1896 and 1901.

After the outbreak of World War II, Isidor Philipp fled France during the Nazi invasion in 1940, arriving in New York in 1941. Despite his advanced age he accepted private smdents, not only in New York, but also in Montreal. He also taught, gave lectures and spoke to L'Alliance Francaise de Louisville. At the age of 91, he played the piano part in Franck's Violin Sonata (New York, March 20, 1955). From 1955 he divided his time between New York and Paris - and at this time giving his Farewell recitals at the age of 92.

Today Isidor Philipp is almost entirely known for his educational works but beside them he has composed two orchestral works: Rêverie mélancolique and Sérénade humoristique as well as a concertino for three pianos and a suite for two pianos. He published some technical studies for piano, among them Exercises journaliers; École d'octaves; Problèmes techniques; Études techniques bosées sur une nouvelle manière de travailler; and La Gamme chromatique; made arrangements for 2 pianos of works by J.S. Bach, Felix Mendelssohn, Camille Saint-Saëns, and others; also brought out 16 Technique de Liszt (2 vols., Paris, 1932).

Source: Ferrucio Busoni Website; Piano Music for the Left Hand Alone Website; Bakerís Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (June 2007)

Isidor Philipp: Short Biography | Piano Transcriptions: Works | Recordings

Links to other Sites

Isidor Philipp, pianist (1863-1958)

Isidor Philipp (Ferruccio Busoni Website)


H. Bellamann: "Isidor Philipp," Musical Quarterly (October 1943)

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