Born in Whitney Point, New York, in 1875, Ethel Newcomb would go on to have an important career as a concert pianist, having performed across Europe and the United States in the early 1900s, including under the batons of Richard Strauss and Ossip Gabrilowitsch. In later years, she devoted her attention to teaching. She died in 1959 at the age of eighty-three.
Ethel Newcomb is perhaps best known for her book, Leschetizky As I Knew Him, published in 1921. Brimming with detail and written in an easy, conversational style, the book recounts endless stories from her period of study in Vienna, under the guidance of the celebrated piano teacher, Theodore Leschetizky. Newcomb studied with Leschetizky from 1895-1903 and, in the years immediately following, served as one of his teaching assistants.
From stories about Leschetizky's infamous Wednesday evening classes to those about Viennese cultural life, as well as firsthand accounts of celebrated artists, patrons and members of the nobility, including Emperor Franz Joseph I, the book offers a friendly window into the world of a young American female pianist studying in Europe during the years leading up to the First World War.
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