Hambourg, Mark

Mark Hambourg - English pianist of Russian origin. Born in Boguchar, Voronezh province on May 31, 1879, he was called “the wunderkind from Boguchar”.

Music sounded unceasingly in the family of the future musician. Primarily young Mark studied piano playing from his father, Michael Hambourg, who was once a very famous pianist from Yaroslavl. Mikhail Hambourg studied at the Moscow Conservatory under Nikolai Rubinstein and Sergei Taneyev, and then at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, from which he graduated in 1879. His firstborn son Mark was born the same year and the family moved to Voronezh. Two more children - Mark brothers were born there - Yan and Boris. They became famous musicians in the future. The Hambourg family lived In Voronezh until 1888, and then moved to Moscow. It was there that Mark's piano debut took place. He played the 20th Mozart's piano concerto, and two years later, he went on tour to England. In London, Mark gave a concert, which featured works by Bach and Beethoven. With his brilliantly successful performances, the young pianist significantly improved the financial situation of his family, which allowed them to move to the capital of England.

In 1900, in London, another son was born in the family – Clement, who later became a famous Canadian pianist.

Mark Hambourg wrote in his memoirs, “... our house was full of music and musicians. What a joy to have an inherited musical talent, this is a real bliss. In the evenings, after dinner, everyone played chamber music. Many great musicians in those days were friends of my parents”.

Ferruccio Busoni, Anton Rubinstein, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Ignaz Friedman played music with Mark in the house of Michael Hambourg. Busoni even dedicated Sonatina No. 2 to Mark Hamburg.

In London, Mark had vast concert activity, and in 1891, on the recommendation of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Mark was sent to Vienna to study under the great pianist Theodor Leschetizky. Three years later, Mark Hambourg performed the First Concert by Frédéric Chopin, together with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Hans Richter. His performance impressed his teacher Theodor Leschetizky so much that he returned all the money paid for three years of study.

After such successful performances, Mark actively toured in Europe. He performed in Australia, Canada, and the USA as well.

At the age of 17, Mark received the British citizenship and soon married the daughter of Lord Mackenzie - Dorothea Muir, after which he became accepted into the highest British society.

By 1913, Mark performed more than two thousand concerts. It is an interesting fact is that Hambourg was one of the first pianists, whose performances were recorded.

In 1919, Mark’s daughter was born. She inherited her father’s talent and became a famous pianist. Since the age of 12, she was touring with her father around the world. Moreover, in 1930 she toured in the UK with the famous singer Paul Robson.

During the Great Patriotic War, Mark Hambourg gave charity concerts. A documentary was filmed about him in 1942.

Mark Hambourg left behind a small but important musical heritage: several piano works, Variations on the theme of Paganini (1902), three books – “From Piano to Forte”, “The Eighth Octave” and “How to become a pianist”.

Records of his performance of the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 11 by Ferenc Liszt, works by Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky and other composers, as well as Hambourg's own compositions recorded on paper music rolls and records, are stored in the Museum Collection Music Library.

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