Born: May 25, 1894 - Odessa, Russia
Died: October 1, 1987 - Los Angeles, California, USA
The Russian-born American pianist, pedagogue and author, Leo Podolsky, showed his music talent at the age of 8. He was attracted to the music of a hurdy-gurdy in the street of Odessa an rushing home, successfully picked out its melody on the piano. He had piano instruction with several teachers - seventeen in all - but found the satisfactory onf George Lalewicz at the Cracow Conservatory. Later he enrolled in the Royal Academy in Vienna, winning scholarship - difficult for a foreigner - and also winning the Liszt and the Anton Rubinstein prizes. His Berlin debut was in 1912.
Graduating from the Academy Leo Podolsky had a contract for a international concert tour, but it was cancelled by the beginning of World War I. He was inducted for military service and often wearing "tails" over his army uniform, gave concerts throughout Russia and Siberia- a tour 10,000 miles. Stranded in Yokohama by the Russian Revolution and without funds and friends, he organized a successful concert series resulting in an invitation to teach and perform in Japanese royal circles. There were 426 appearances in the Far East tour and he also appeared with symphony orchestras in Java and Japan, China, the Philippines, Federate Malay States, Dutch East Indies, British India, Burma and Ceylon. He returned to Europe and was on the faculty of the New Conservatory of Music in Berlin and gave concerts in Germany, France, Holland, Belgium and Spain.
Leo Podolsky's USA debut in 1924 was in Chicago and he gave three recitals within eight weeks. Other recitals were in New York. For 18 years he was the supervisor of the piano department at Saint Marys College, Notre Dame in Indiana. In 1926 he joined the faculty of the Sherwood music School in Chicago. He was the guest artist at State Teachers Conventions of Arizona, Arkansas, Michigan, Ohio. As an American citizen, he has represented the USA as a faculty member at the famous Mozarteum in Salzburg, taking with him groups of teachers and students. Several German students and their professors have attended his classes.
Leo Podolsky had had many students who have won prizes and are occupying important professional positions in the USA and some foreign countries. He has given hundreds of master-classes throughout the USA and in 1956 began a series of piano workshops with his associates, June Davison and Ardella Schaub. He has edited much piano literature and books on instruction methods and is the editor of an authentic edition of the works of Mozart.