Adele aus der Ohe

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Adele aus der Ohe (1861-1937)

German pianist and composer (b. 11 February 1861 [N.S.] in Hannover; d. 8 December 1937 in Berlin), born Adelheit Johanne Auguste Hermine aus der Ohe.


Adele aus der Ohe already exhibited her extraordinary musical talent at the age of three. When ten years old, she played the Beethoven Concerto No. 2 in her orchestral début and at the age of twelve became a student of Franz Liszt. She worked with Liszt for the rest of his life, having one of the longest associations of any of his students.

She played her American début in 1886, became an immediate success, and began touring as far east as Moscow and Saint Petersburg, Russia, and as far west as San Francisco and Los Angeles, California.

Adele aus der Ohe participated in some of the most notable musical events of her day. In England she was a soloist for the London Philharmonic's Diamond Jubilee concert honouring 60 years of Queen Victoria's reign, performing both the Schumann A minor and the Liszt E-flat piano concertos on the same programme. In Berlin she performed as part of the four-hundredth Jubilee Soiree of the Royal Orchestra. When Carnegie Hall in New York City was dedicated, the finest musicians of the day were engaged for the opening festivities: Tchaikovsky as conductor and Adele aus der Ohe as soloist.

The renowned conductor, Theodore Thomas, engaged aus der Ohe for the opening season of the Chicago Symphony; the Minneapolis Symphony (later renamed Minnesota Orchestra) engaged aus der Ohe to perform her signature concerto, the Liszt E-flat, in their opening season, and the Schubert Club of Saint Paul, Minnesota, one of the finest recital series in America, presented Adele aus der Ohe at their inaugural concert. She was a favourite of the Boston Symphony and appeared with them 51 times – a near record.

She frequently performed for European royalty and in 1910 was honoured with great distinction when she was named Royal Prussian Court Pianist by Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Aus der Ohe was known for her large repertoire and even performed chamber music from memory. She was one of the first female pianists to feature Brahms's Concerto No. 2 and she frequently performed new compositions by her colleagues as well as her own compositions [1].

Tchaikovsky and Adele aus der Ohe

Adele aus der Ohe performed Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor with Tchaikovsky conducting more times than any other pianist. Their first collaboration was during the opening festival for Carnegie Hall and their final in Saint Petersburg at the same concert that featured the premiere of his Pathétique Symphony, which sadly turned out to be Tchaikovsky's final performance.

Aus der Ohe remained in Saint Petersburg during Tchaikovsky's final illness and performed at his memorial concert, where, as she later wrote: "It was difficult to play, I could hardly see the keys for tears. People felt that a great and noble man was gone and that the hope of musical Russia had found a vast utterance in that Sixth Symphony, which they called his song" [2].

Correspondence with Tchaikovsky

No letters from Tchaikovsky to Adele aus der Ohe are known. However, 5 letters from Adele aus der Ohe to the composer, dating from 1891 and 1892, are preserved in the Tchaikovsky State Memorial Musical Museum-Reserve at Klin (a4, Nos. 3168–3172).


External Links

Notes and References

  1. Information for this article was kindly provided by Mr LaWayne Leno, whose 2012 book The Untold Story of Adele aus der Ohe. From a Liszt Student to a Virtuoso includes a chapter on Tchaikovsky and Carnegie Hall.
  2. Published in the Chicago Daily Tribune, 25 February 1894; quoted in Tchaikovsky and Carnegie Hall, p. 96 (2012).