Edwin Fischer was a Swiss pianist, conductor, and educator during the first half of the 20th century. He was known for his expressive interpretations of the piano music of J.S. Bach and Mozart.
Fischer was born in 1886 in Basle, Switzerland, and he started playing the piano when he was four years old. Both of his parents were pianists and worked as musical instrument makers. In 1896 he enrolled at the Basle Conservatory and studied piano with Hans Huber. After he graduated in 1904, he moved to Berlin, where he attended the Stern Academy. There he studied with Martin Krause, who was a former student of Franz Liszt and Eugen d’Albert. As a student in Berlin, Fischer made his debut as soloist performing d’Albert’s Piano Concerto No. 2. The composer, who was present in the audience, was very impressed and gave Fischer some encouraging advice. After one year of study, he joined the faculty at the Stern Academy as a piano instructor, and his reputation as an educator quickly grew. He also became known as a recitalist and soloist, and performed as the accompanist for Ludwig Wüllner, the famous German tenor. Due to the onset of World War I, Fischer was driven out of Berlin, which ended his tenure at the Stern Academy around 1914.
The Aristipposian Poet
celebrating his life in music
October 6 at 6pm
After moving back to Switzerland, he began a career as a performer in 1916, and in 1919 he married Leonora von Mendelssohn, the daughter of a prominent banker. This relationship also put Fischer in contact with members of the social elite, which gave his already successful career an additional push. However, the marriage was turbulent due to Mendelssohn’s increasing mental health problems, and they divorced in 1925. The following year, he became the conductor of the Lübeck Musikverein, and then in 1928 he moved to Munich to conduct the Bachverein. After four years, he left Munich and began an appointment as the director of the Berlin Hochschule für Musik. From 1933 to 1936, Fischer made the first complete recording of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. He also formed a chamber orchestra in Berlin and was one of the first practitioners of the concept of historically informed performance.
As World War II escalated, Fischer relocated back to Switzerland in 1942 and discontinued his career in music until the after the war. In 1945 he resumed performing and teaching, and he formed a piano trio with cellist Enrico Mainardi and violinist Georg Kulenkampff. He made several recordings of the works of Bach and Beethoven, and his interpretations of Mozart’s piano concertos are especially revered. Fischer also collaborated with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf on a very popular recording of Schubert lieder. He stopped touring in 1954 when he began suffering from neuropathy in his fingers, but continued recording and teaching until his death in 1960.
By RJ Lambert / Source: all music