Franz Xaver and Philipp Scharwenka


They were two dominant public figures of the German and international musical life at the end of the19th and the beginning of the 20th century: the brothers Xaver and Philipp Scharwenka (1847–1917).  


Although Xaver Scharwenka (1850–1924), who was three years younger than his brother, was later always a little more at the center of the public‘s attention, the career of the two, born in the then Prussian, today Polish town of Szamotuły (German: Samter), was parallel for long stretches of time. This began already regarding their training, which they first received from their mother and then expanded autodidactically, before continuing their musical studies during their time in secondary school in the near town of Pozn (German: Posen) and then at the Neue Akademie der Tonkunst in Berlin established by Theodor Kullak in 1855. While Xaver then also strove for a career as virtuoso pianist, Philipp‘s preference from the very beginning was above all composing.  


Already in 1868, he became a lecturer for music theory at Kullak‘s Academy himself. When his brother opened his own conservatory in 1881, Philipp became head of the theory and composition departments there. While it was anything but common at the end of the 19th century for European artists to also become active overseas, the brothers dared take the leap across the ocean together. In 1891, they went to New York in order to contribute to setting up a conservatory there, as well. However, Philipp returned to Berlin already the following year and took over thedirection of the Scharwenka conservatory in place of Xaver. He merged the conservatory with the school of Karl Klindworth in 1893 andexpanded it into the renowned Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory, whichexisted until 1960. He remained principal of this institute himself until his death in 1917.













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