Leschetizky Society letterhead

The Leschetizky Society of Japan

Activities of the Society
Recent Events of the Society
Coming Events of the Society
Master Classes
Achievements of the Society
Future Plans of the Society
Janos Cegledy - President of the Society
Paul Schramm, our link to Leschetizky
Theodor Leschetizky's Teaching Methods


The Leschetizky Society is a unique music society in Japan, and is a strictly non-profit making organization.

The Society was founded in 1991, with the aim of helping young musicians to further develop their talent, gain performing experience and provide an environment for stimulation of musical imagination.

The name of the society is a tribute to Theodor Leschetizky, the renowned teacher of some of the greatest pianists such as Padarewski, Friedman, Schnabel and Moisewitsch.

The logo of the Society is a monogram of Theodor Leschetizky's initials set within a laurel wreath.

Theodor Leschetizky

JPEG picture of Theodor Leschetizky at the piano

Theodor Leschetizky's teaching methods

Mieczyslaw Horszowski - our founding patron

Our founding patron was Mieczyslaw Horszowski, one of the most remarkable students of Leschetizky. He has given us great inspiration and encouragement.

Mieczyslaw Horszowski photo gallery

This is how Allan Evans writes about Mieczyslaw Horszowski:

"The art of Horszowski goes beyond mere pianism and to the heights of musicianship. The more one hears of his great art, the more one realizes the unlimited possibilities of interpretation. His approach resembles that of a painter who masks the intricacies of perspective and structure by bold brushstrokes and an immense sense of style, tending to favor chiaroscuro. His mother had lessons from Chopin's assistant Mikuli and gave the young Horszowski his first training. One of Leschetizky's favored students, he was frequently granted private lessons. Leschetizky, who fortold Schnabel's destiny as a great Schubertian at a time when the Sonatas were not played, said "Mozart is in Horszowski's soul."

© Allan Evans, 1996

Activities of the Society:

Besides regular monthly meetings for performance and discussion we have several 'Salon Concerts' every year, as well as larger recitals featuring music for piano solo, duet, duo and chamber music.

Recent Events

Recent concerts have been at the Sunny Hall Concert Salon in Nippori.

Coming Events

Monthly Meetings

Monthly meetings are usually held at the Studio Fermata.

Details of the program will be shown here, when they are available.

Summer Seminar

We hold Summer Seminars in August in Karuizawa.


Auditions are held once or twice a year, to select participants for a concert sponsored by the Leschetizky Society of Japan. They are open to members and non-members. The repertoire can be piano solo or any works with piano, including chamber music and lieder. The individual program must be a minimum of 20 minutes duration.

Master Classes

We have also organized an exciting series of master-classes with the following renowned professors (in alphabetical order):

Kalman Berkes Guest Professor at Musashino Academia Musicae

Boris Berman Yale University

Janos CegledyProfessor at Toho College of Music, and Musashino Academia Musicae

Julia GanevGuest Professor, Musashino Academia Musicae

Konstantin GanevGuest Professor, Musashino Academia Musicae

Mieko HarimotoTokyo Ongaku Daigaku (Ondai), Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku (Geidai)

Norio Kusakabe President, Gakuyu Piano Ongaku Kenkyukai

Alexei Nasedkin Guest Professor, Musashino Academia Musicae, Moscow Conservatory

Alexander Semetsky Vice-Rector, Moscow Conservatory

Bela Siki Washington University, Seattle

Laszlo Simon Staatl. Hochschule der Kunste, Berlin

Einar Steen-Nokleberg Staatl. Hochschule die Musik, Hanover

Jerzy Sulikowski Guest Professor, Musashino Academia Musicae

Zsolt Tibay Guest Professor, Musashino Academia Musicae, andTokyo Geijutsu Daigaku (Geidai)

Erzsebet Tusa Guest Professor, Musashino Academia Musicae

Georg Vasarhelyi Guest Professor, Musashino Academia Musicae

Achievements of the Society:

We have acted as a bridge between musicians of diverging musical backgrounds, and can truly count the past six years as most successful. Seven of our members have gone overseas for further studies, some have been awarded scholarships and some have done well in competitions.

Our membership has increased and we have retained most of our original members.

Above all, we have made friendships through the performance and appreciation of music and together we have grown musically!

Leschetizky Society Outing

Leschetizky Society Outing JPEG

This picture was taken during the 1997 Summer Seminar

Future Plans of the Society:

For the future, we hope to provide scholarships for talented musicians to study in Japan or overseas and to assist them to enter competitions.

We also plan to further expand into the provinces and introduce adult education programs.

English instruction, specially devised for young musicians who intend to study further at American universities is also being organized.

We welcome your interest and support. For further information E-mail us at: Janos Cegledy <0347716901@jcom.home.ne.jp>

Janos Cegledy - President of the Leschetizky Society of Japan:

Janos Cegledy is a Hungarian-born pianist who grew up in New Zealand. He was fortunate to study there with Mme. Diny Schramm, wife of Paul Schramm (see below). Later he studied with the renowned Hungarian pianist, Andor Földes.

In 1968, he was invited as to teach at Toho Music University in Tokyo, where he has been Professor of Piano since 1981. Since 1982 he has also been teaching at Musashino Academia Musicae.

Janos Cegledy is also a composer, and has had numerous works published by Zen On, for whom he has also edited the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas (an annotated revival of the original Liszt Edition), duet anthologies and the most comprehensive Strauss duet edition.

Publications by Janos Cegledy

For further information, see the Marquis 'Who is Who in the World', 16th 1999 edition.

Paul Schramm (1892-1953), our link to Leschetizky

Paul Schramm Gallery

Paul Schramm began his musical career as a remarkable prodigy.

By 1901, under the patronage of leading Austrian aristocrats, he had played a program of Liszt-Wagner, Reinecke, Mendelssohn and the duet sonata by Schubert with his teacher Rudolph Kaiser, one of his own compositions and also conducted a choir.

At the age of ten he became a pupil of Leschetizky.

By fifteen he was ready for a professional career. From 1908 on he was soloist with such conductors as Mengelberg, Dobrowen and Sir Henry Wood. He won acclaim with the still new Busoni Concerto.

In 1909 he founded the Austrian Trio. He also concertized with, Szekely and other famous instrumentalists. He was active as one of Berlin's leading teachers (where, for a year, Claudio Arrau studied with him) and he later taught at the Rotterdam Conservatory. It was there that he met the brilliant young pianist Diny Soetermeer, who later became his wife and duo partner.

In the 1920's Paul Schramm developed an interest in jazz and wrote jazz studies and compositions as well as playing a vast classical repertoire which included not only all the Beethoven Sonatas and most of the standard romantic repertoire, but also a lot of contemporary compositions.

In 1933 Paul decided to leave Berlin, packed up all his belongings and went on an international concert tour, as far from Germany as he could.

He and his wife ended up in Batavia (now Jakarta) where he formed and conducted the Batavian Symphony Orchestra. When Japanese invasion seemed inevitable, they fled to New Zealand where they contributed greatly to the development of appreciation of classical music. Unfortunately, when the second World War broke out, they were treated as enemy aliens (Schramm being an Austrian national) and their activities were drastically and cruelly curtailed.

It was after the war that Paul Schramm was able to go to Australia, where he briefly resumed his career with great success.

Paul Schramm was also a prolific composer. His first published work was a set of ambitious variations, dedicated to his revered teacher, Theodor Leschetizky. Subsequently, besides the jazz compositions, he wrote chamber and orchestral music, an opera, piano and duo compositions and arrangements, as well as some songs and film music.

It is unfortunate that Paul Schramm made so few recordings, otherwise he would be known as one of the major pianists of his generation. The only recordings that exist are four s.p. sides recorded in the 1920's and ABC radio recordings of some of the 'Presenting Paul Schramm' series from the late 1940s. For inquiries concerning the availability of these recordings please E-mail: Janos Cegledy <0347716901@jcom.home.ne.jp>.

Theodor Leschetizky's Teaching Methods

Leschetizky combined the classical training of Czerny and the cantabile style of Chopin with the brilliance of Liszt. These are also the qualities which are predominant in the playing of Leschetizky's pupils.

As a teacher, Leschetizky claimed he had no method, at least not in the rigid technical sense. The method he taught was the study of the score in the minutest detail, in order to discover all the implied and hidden meanings and then find a way to their technical solution. The musical ideal came first for which the technical solution would be found. To succeed in this, a thorough technical training, based primarily on extensive study of scales, chords and double notes including octaves, as well as etudes (predominantly by Czerny) was a prerequisite.

Leschetizky himself, at least by the time he became famous, did not teach children, unless their talent bordered on the genius. For that reason, there is no record of how he would have approached the problems of teaching basic piano technique. He worked with assistants who were his students and sometimes his wives (he had several pianistic marriages), and they had lot of latitude in how they achieved the results. They prepared the young students until they reached sufficiently advanced level to benefit from the Master's teaching.

All the various 'Leschetizky Methods' were written by assistants or other students but only the one by Malwine Brée was endorsed by the Master himself. An interesting feature of this book is that Leschetizky let photographs of his hand be used for the illustrations. The book was written before detailed studies have been made of the physiology of piano playing and therefore, it is not surprising that, besides some good points, one finds inconsistencies and physically contradictory remarks.

Leschetizky himself had little patience or time to consider elementary technical matters - one must remember that he was over seventy when he endorsed Malwine Brée's book. The influence of his teaching, of which the technique was just a tool, could be best be judged from observations on how his many famous students played. What they all had in common was the absence of all inessential movements. They generally used flowing movements of the hand with fingers close to the keys, except when special effects were required by the music. My own recollections of the playing of Horszowski and Moisewitsch bears this out. Moisewitsch was particularly legendary for his playing of the most expressive cantabile or most exuberant bravura with the same facial expression and very little body movement. Rachmaninoff, by the way, was also reputedly like that.

His teaching was full of imagination and sometimes humor. Here are some recollection of his teaching and sayings:

Padarewski said; The method of Leschetizky is very simple. His pupils learn to evoke a fine tone from the instrument and to make music and not noise. There are principles, you will agree, that are to be uniformly inculcated in every pupil - that is breadth, softness of touch and precision of rhythm. For the rest, every individual is treated according to his talent. In one word - it is the method of methods. Leschetizky remarked: "I study for hours when I am walking alone in the night. I look far down the street and imagine a beautiful voice, and I learn that far away 'pp' quality - that means attention" For him "the best study could be done away from the piano .... Listening to the inward singing of a phrase was of far more value than playing it a dozen times." He has come to appreciate a fine melody line from the singing of his first wife, Anne de Friedebourg, whom he had married in Russia.. His three later wives were all students, including Annette Essipov, one of the greatest 19th century women pianists. He felt that muscular relaxation in piano playing was like deep breathing to a singer.

He told Ethel Newcomb: ... what deep breaths (Anton) Rubinstein used to take at the beginning of long phrases, and also what repose he had and what dramatic pauses. "There is more rhythm between the notes than in the notes themselves." He reminded me that Liszt used to say this: "Paula Szalit is the only one who ever asked me to tell how Rubinstein breathed. No one else ever seemed interested to know."

To Frank Merrick he said; I advise you very often to stop and listen when you are practising, and then you will find out a great deal for yourself."

Annette Hullah recalled that he felt four, or at the most five hours a day of concentrated practice was sufficient . Miss Hullah wrote: "Concentrated thought is the basis of his principles, the corner-stone of his method. Without it, nothing of any permanent value can be obtained, either in art or anything else. No amount of mechanical finger-work can take its place; and the player who repeats the same passage, wearily expectant that he will accomplish it in process of time, is a lost soul on a hopeless quest.

Leschetizky enumerates the essential qualities of good work as follows; First, an absolutely clear comprehension of the principal points to be studied in the music an hand; a clear perception of where the difficulties lie, and of the way in which to conquer them; the mental realizations of these three facts before they are carried out by the hands. 'Decide exactly what it is you want to do in the first place' he impressed on everyone; "then how you will do it; then play it. Stop and think if you played it in the way you meant to do; then only, if sure of this, go ahead. Without concentration, remember, you can do nothing. The brain must guide the fingers, not the fingers the brain". Each student's interpretation of a piece was fashioned to the student's personality.

Benno Moisewitsch (1890-1963) remarked that Leschetizky never taught two pupils the same piece in the same way, that there was a sense of urgency about his music making; "Whatever he did was intensely felt and shaped to that ideal: he made us think of the shape of the phrase, of the paragraph, of the composition. Each of the phrases in the dissecting process would be different and separately perfect. Put together, there was a sublime and unpredictable continuity of feeling about the piece as it took shape in one's newly minted interpretation."

He told Ethel Newcomb: "Be ideal, think ideally. We can all afford to cultivate that quality .... Whether it makes you happier or not, it is worth the trouble to try to live ideally. If you think yourself a poor specimen, you will probably always remain one, or most likely become one, but if you think of yourself as having the possibilities of greatness in you, there is a chance for you."

Here are some teaching remarks by Leschetizky: "Sit at the piano unconstrained and erect, like a good horseman on his horse, and yield to the movements of the arms as far as necessary, as the rider yields to the movement of his horse. Sit at such distance from the keyboard that when the arms are easily bent, the finger tips may rest on the keys with easy effort, and the feet reach the pedals comfortably. The elbows should be held neither too close to the sides nor too far away; moreover, they should be on a level with the keys, or be held but a very little higher. To make an effective accelerando, you must glide into rapidity as steadily as a train increases its speed when steaming out of a station. Teach yourself to make a rallentando evenly by watching the drops of water cease as you turn off the tap. A player with unbalanced rhythm reminds me of an intoxicated man who cannot walk straight. Your fingers are like capering horses, spirited and willing, but ignorant of where to go without a guide. Put on your bridle and curb them in till they learn to obey you, or they will not serve you well. If you are going to play a scale, place your hand in readiness on the keyboard in the same position as you would if you were going to write a letter - or to take a pinch of snuff. The bystander ought to know by your attitude of your hand what chord you are going to play before you play it, for each chord has its own psysiognomy. If you play wrong notes, either you do not know where the note is, or what the note is. If you want to develop strength and sensitiveness in the tips of your fingers, use them in everyday life. For instance, when you go out for a walk, hold your umbrella with the tips instead of in the palm of the hand."

There is a single verbal recording of Leschetizky summing up his credo: "No art without life, no life without art."

(Written by Janos Cegledy)

E-mail to the Society: Janos Cegledy <0347716901@jcom.home.ne.jp>