Moritz (Maurice) Moszkowski (23 August 1854 – 4 March 1925) was a German composer, pianist, and teacher of Polish descent. Ignacy Paderewski said, "After Chopin, Moszkowski best understands how to write for the piano". Although little known today, Moszkowski was well-respected and popular during the late nineteenth century.

He was born in Breslau, Prussia (now Wroclaw, Poland) into a Jewish family and studied music in Breslau, Dresden and Berlin, under Theodor Kullak and others. He was a teacher in Berlin for many years, and became very friendly with Xaver and Philipp Scharwenka. He also played four-hand pieces with Franz Liszt. He was an ardent Jew, at a time when many Jews downplayed their Jewishness. His pupils included Frank Damrosch, Joaquín Nin, Ernest Schelling and Joaquín Turina. He also claimed that Józef Hofmann was his student, although at other times he said there was nothing anyone could teach him, so this claim is uncertain. After a successful career as a concert pianist and conductor, he settled in Paris in 1897. During this time (1887), he was awarded honorary membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.

In Paris, he lived on the rue Blanche, and in the summer he rented a villa owned by Henri Murger. His Parisian students included Vlado Perlemuter, Thomas Beecham and, informally, Gaby Casadesus. In 1899 the Berlin Academy elected him a member. He was many times invited by piano manufacturers to appear in the United States, to show off their pianos, but despite being offered massive fees, he always refused.

By 1908 he had become a recluse. He stopped taking composition pupils because "they wanted to write like artistic madmen such as Scriabin, Schoenberg, Debussy, Satie ...". He had become a widower before World War I. He had two children. His second wife was the sister of Cécile Chaminade.

He sold all his copyrights, which made him rich for the first time in his life, but he invested the lot in German, Polish and Russian bonds and securities, which were rendered worthless on the outbreak of the war. In 1922, when he was ill and heavily in debt, his friends and admirers arranged a grand testimonial concert on his behalf at Carnegie Hall, involving 14 grand pianos on stage. Ossip Gabrilowitsch, Percy Grainger, Josef Lhévinne, Wilhelm Backhaus and Harold Bauer were among the performers, Paderewski telegrammed his apologies, and Frank Damrosch conducted. The concert netted $10,000, and the money provided relief from his immediate financial problems, however Moszkowski's illness lingered and in 1925 another benefit concert was arranged. Moszkowski died in March of that year before the new supply of funds could reach him. The money raised went instead to pay his funeral expenses and to his wife and daughter.

His brother Alexander Moszkowski (1851-1934) was a famous writer and satirist in Berlin.
This biography was most recently edited by...
Leandro - 14 Dec 2010