Landowska, Wanda

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Landowska, Wanda

(vän`dä ländôf`skä), 1879–1959, Polish-French harpsichordist and pianist, studied at the Warsaw Conservatory. She taught piano (1900–1912) at the Schola Cantorum, Paris, and harpsichord (1912–19) at the Berlin Hochschule. She established her École de Musique ancienne in Paris in 1925. In 1940, she came to the United States, settling in Lakeville, Conn., where she taught and made recordings. Largely responsible for the revival of interest in the harpsichord and its music, she was the teacher of many noted contemporary harpsichordists. Manuel de FallaFalla, Manuel de
, 1876–1946, Spanish composer; pupil of Felipe Pedrell. In Paris from 1907 to 1914, he met Debussy, Dukas, and Ravel, and was to some extent influenced by their impressionism.
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 and Francis PoulencPoulenc, Francis
, 1899–1963, French composer and pianist. He was one of Les Six, a group of French composers who subscribed to the aesthetic ideals of Erik Satie, whose influence he encountered in his teens.
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 wrote (1926 and 1929) the first 20th-century harpsichord concertos for her.


See her Landowska on Music (1969); documentary film, Landowska: Uncommon Visionary (1999), dir. by B. Attie.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Landowska, Wanda (Aleksandra)

(1877–1959) harpsichordist, music teacher; born in Warsaw, Poland. After studying at the Warsaw Conservatory, she became a prominent concert pianist in Europe until about 1910 when she decided to devote her career to playing the harpsichord. She taught in Berlin and then in Paris, promoting older music, particularly that of Bach, and commissioning new works for the harpsichord. Although she made her first concert tour in the U.S.A. in 1923, she did not move there permanently until 1940, coming first to New York City and then to Connecticut (1949). Teaching, playing, recording, writing, and proselytizing extensively—and often imperiously—she is regarded as a leader in the 20th century's revival of the harpsichord.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.