Wanda Landowska

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Landowska, Wanda


Born July 5, 1877, in Warsaw; died Aug. 16, 1959, in Lakeville, Conn., USA. Polish harpsichordist, pianist, teacher, and musicologist.

Landowska studied in Poland with A. Michałowski (piano) and in Berlin with M. Moszkowski and G. Urban (composition). She moved to Paris in 1900, where she performed as a pianist and from 1903, as a harpsichordist. In 1906 she began touring Europe, including Russia in 1907, 1909, and 1913. She also gave lectures. She taught harpsichord in Berlin, Basel, and Paris and founded a school for the study of old music in Saint-Leu-la-Forêt, near Paris. She settled in the USA in 1941.

Landowska became world famous with her numerous concert tours and recordings. She was responsible for the revival of the harpsichord and harpsichord music on the contemporary concert stage. De Falla (1926) and Poulenc (1929) wrote harpsichord concerti for her. Landowska composed orchestral and piano pieces, choral songs, and cadenzas to concerti by Haydn and Mozart. She published a number of studies on J. S. Bach and on harpsichord music, including Music of the Past (1909).


Gavoty, B., and R. Hauert. Wanda Landowska. Geneva, 1957.


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The interview offers not only Bowles's firsthand impressions of Wanda Landowska and Walt Disney's Fantasia, but also his insights on the advantages and disadvantages of being a composer-critic, and his recollection of such practical matters as the salary and schedule for reviewing assignments.
Thanks to the efforts of pioneers such as Wanda Landowska, Arnold Dolmetsch, Ralph Kirkpatrick, and others in the early decades of the twentieth century, however, the harpsichord began to be played and heard again.
On the other hand, typical of the many excellent side boxes is the story of Wanda Landowska, the Polish harpsichordist who almost single-handedly brought the harpsichord back into acceptance by the musical public and who provided seminal interpretations and recordings of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach in the 1930s and later (p.