THE REDISCOVERY OF A WUNDERKIND
Born in Warsaw in 1909, Ignace Strasfogel was the youngest student ever admitted to the Berlin conservatory, a true child prodigy. A teenage pupil in Franz Schreker’s famed composition class, his second piano sonata won the Mendelssohn Prize in 1926. He accompanied Joseph Szigeti on a six-month world tour in 1927, made recordings with Carl Flesch, wrote stage music for Max Reinhardt productions and served as Leo Blech’s assistant at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin. Summarily dismissed by the Nazis from the opera in 1933, Strasfogel fled to America and reestablished himself. He was appointed official pianist of the New York Philharmonic by Arturo Toscanini and eventually came to prominence as a coach and conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. Late in his life, Strasfogel started composing again. Young German musicians took note and began championing his music, which soon attracted an admiring public. The warmth and sympathy with which he and his music was received in Germany gradually led him to make peace with the country that had ripped his life apart.
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This book was commissioned by the Academy of Arts in Berlin and published by Hentrich & Hentrich Verlag in Leipzig, Germany, is 90 pages long with 16 photographs and illustrations. I am offering the edition with my original English text. A German translation by Tim Schneider is also available.
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