Matthay, Tobias, 1858-1945

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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)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Collection of sheet music featuring British composers, ca. 1775-1986 (inclusive), 1830-1930 (bulk). Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf Tobias Matthay Collection, 1885-2009, 1908-1929 International Piano Archives at Maryland
creatorOf Powell, John, 1882-1963. Manuscript of the transcription of John Powell letters, 2002. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Powell, John, 1882-1963. Papers of John Powell [manuscript] 1895-1940. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Nicolas Slonimsky Collection, 1873-1997, (bulk 1920-1990) Library of Congress. Music Division
creatorOf Hinderer, J. G. (John George), 1885-1963. John G. Hinderer papers, 1908-1962. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Yates, Marjorie, 1900-1996. Marjorie Yates collection of material principally relating to Myra Hess, 1941-1996. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Marjorie Yates collection of material principally relating to Myra Hess, 1941-1996 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
creatorOf Matthay, Tobias, 1858-1945. Gnats & gnomes. University of Sheffield
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Beecham, Betty Humby. person
associatedWith Hinderer, J. G. (John George), 1885-1963. person
associatedWith Lassimonne, Denise person
associatedWith Powell, John, 1882-1963. person
associatedWith Slonimsky, Nicolas, 1894-1995 person
associatedWith Yates, Marjorie, 1900-1996. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Piano teachers


Birth 1858-02-19

Death 1945-12-15





Ark ID: w6bp19pw

SNAC ID: 75467330