Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner

Wilhelm Kempff (Piano, Composer, Arranger)

Born: November 25, 1895 - Jüterbog, Germany
Died: May 23, 1991 - Positano, Italy

Wilhelm Kempff was a German pianist and composer. He studied in Berlin and Potsdam. He toured widely throughout contintental Europe and much of the rest of the world, but did not make his first London appearance until 1951, and did not play in New York until 1964. He gave his last public performance in Paris in 1981 and died in Positano, Italy at the age of 95.

Considered one of the greatest pianists of 20th century, Wilhelm Kempff is celebrated today for his recordings of Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Schubert, W.A. Mozart, J.S. Bach, Franz Liszt, Frédéric Chopin and particularly, of L.v. Beethoven. He recorded over a period of some sixty years. Kempff was among the first to record the complete sonatas of F. Schubert long before these works became popular. He also recorded two celebrated sets of the complete L.v. Beethoven sonatas, one in mono and the other in early stereo. He also played chamber music with Yehudi Menuhin and Pierre Fournier among others. Particularly famous are the recordings of the complete L.v. Beethoven sonatas for violin and piano with Yehudi Menuhin. In 1957 Kempff began to give an annual L.v. Beethoven interpretation course in his villa in Positano. Six years after his death, friend and former student John O'Conor took over the course.

A lesser known activity of Wilhelm Kempff was composing. He composed for almost every genre. His second symphony was premiered in 1929 at the Leipzig Gewandhaus by Wilhelm Furtwängler. He also prepared a number of J.S. Bach transcriptions, including the Siciliano from the Flute Sonata in E, which has been recorded by the pianist Idil Biret.

More Photos

Source: Wikipdia Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2006)

Wilhelm Kempff: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Arrangements of J.S. Bach's Works


Chorale Melody


Sinfonia (Mvt. 1) from Cantata BWV 29, transcription for piano

Chorale (Mvt. 6) from Cantata BWV 147, transcription for piano

Chorale Es ist gewisslich an der Zeit, BWV 307, transcription for piano

Chorale Prelude Ich ruf zu dir Herr Jesus Christus, BWV 639, transcription for piano

Chorale Prelude Wachet auf! ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645, transcription for piano

Chorale Prelude Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659, transcription for piano

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

Chorale Prelude Befiehl du deine Wege, BWV 727, transcription for piano

Chorale Prelude In dulci jubilo, BWV 751, transcription for piano

Siciliano from Flute Sonata in E major, BWV 1031, transcription for piano

Largo from Concerto in F minor, BWV 1056, transcription for piano

Links to other Sites

Wilhelm Kempff (Wikipedia)
Wilhelm Kempff (Official Website)

MEA: WILHELM KEMPFF,great pianist,knight of alexander order
allmusic: Wilhelm Kempff > Overview

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


Back to the Top

Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 07:23