Matthay, Tobias, 1858-1945

Alternative names
Birth 1858-02-19
Death 1945-12-15

Biographical notes:

Summary: Tobias Matthay (1858-1945) was born in London. He was a member of the faculty of the Royal Academy of Music (1880-1925) and opened his own music school in the United Kingdom (1925). Matthay also wrote extensive publications on music and was active as an occasional public piano performer and composer.

Full History: Tobias Matthay (1858-1945) was a British piano pedagogue, pianist, composer, and music writer. Born in London, his early studies took place at the Royal Academy of Music. He joined the faculty of that school in 1880, continuing there until 1925. He also opened his own school which attracted hundreds students from throughout the United Kingdom and beyond. Matthays reputation was based partly on his extensive publications dealing with aspects of piano technique and interpretation. His most famous work was titled The Act of Touch in All Its Diversity ; its first edition appeared in 1903. Matthays preoccupation with the physical and anatomical elements of piano playing generated much positive interest as well as considerable controversy. He guided several players toward music careers: Dame Myra Hess, Irene Scharrer, Harriet Cohen, Dame Moura Lympany, Denise Lassimonne, Eileen Joyce, York Bowen and Sir Clifford Curzon among them.

Matthay was also active as an occasional performer in public and as a composer with many published works. His output is chiefly for the piano. A detailed, scholarly study of Matthays life and career appeared in 2011: Englands Piano Sage by Stephen Siek (Scarecrow Press).

From the guide to the Tobias Matthay Collection, 1885-2009, 1908-1929, (International Piano Archives at Maryland)


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  • Piano--Instruction and study
  • Piano teachers--England


  • Composers


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