Book presentation

Book presentation: Isabella Sommer, Alfred Grünfeld (1852–1924). Der “Pianist Wiens”

Museum Dorotheergasse
© Hollitzer Wissenschaftsverlag
The pianist and composer Alfred Grünfeld (1852–1924) “represented Vienna’s musical ideas on the grand piano,” wrote Julius Korngold in 1924. As a salon pianist and “darling” of high society, he performed for Jewish upper-class families (such as the Rothschilds in Vienna, Paris and London), in aristocratic homes and at royal courts at home and abroad. Concert tours took him to Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia, Romania and the United States. The majority of his approximately one hundred compositions, mostly salon and virtuosic pieces for piano, have been forgotten today, but not his transcriptions to melodies by his friend Johann Strauss (e.g., “Voices of Spring Waltz”). The recordings that he – a pioneer of sound recording – left behind on wax cylinders for the Edison Phonograph, piano rolls for mechanical pianos and records document the “lyric poet at the piano.” Alfred Grünfeld was involved in the Jewish communities in Vienna and Baden and worked gratuitously at charity events for Jewish institutions. As a juror in the artists’ foundation founded by Nathaniel Rothschild, he spoke up for several of his fellow composers.
In this first biography of Alfred Grünfeld, the musicologist Isabella Sommer sheds light on his places of activity, his careers and his private life using letters and recollections, characterizations by companions and newspaper reports.
At the presentation, the singer Andrea Schwab and the pianist Asako Hosoki will perform unknown songs and piano pieces by Alfred Grünfeld, Mathilde Rothschild and Josef Lamberg; the author will tell about Grünfeld’s life and work.

With support of Zukunftsfonds der Republik Österreich.

Free admission as of 6:00 p.m.
Advance booking is essential: Tel.: +43 1 535 04 31-1510 or e-mail:
Please provide the full names of all participants, as well as a contact possibility!
The event takes place in compliance with the currently valid Covid-19 regulations.