Franz Xaver Scharwenka (6 January 1850 – 8 December 1924) was a German-Polish pianist, composer and teacher. He was born in Samter, Prussia (Polish: Szamotuły; until 1793 and since 1919 part of Poland) in 1850. Although he began learning to play the piano by ear when he was 3, Scharwenka did not start formal music studies until he was 15, when his family moved to Berlin and he enrolled at the Akademie der Tonkunst. Under Theodor Kullak, his pianistic skills developed rapidly, and he made his debut at the Singakademie in 1869. He taught at the academy until entering military service in 1873. Upon his discharge in 1874, Scharwenka began touring as a concert pianist. Praised for the beauty of his tone, he was a renowned interpreter of the music of Frédéric Chopin.
Scharwenka’s own compositions include an opera (Mataswintha), a symphony, four piano concertos, chamber music (all with piano part) and numerous piano pieces; his piano idiom somewhat resembles Schumann and Rachmaninoff.
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