Teresa Carreño

(1853-1917)

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(music: Berceuse, Op. 35. Romantic Gems, Christina Petrowski Quilico, piano. Indie Pool Records (www.indiepool.com/) (http://indiepool.com/clientsites/petrowskaquilico) iTunes-Music-Classical-Christina Petrowska Quilico)

Born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1853, Teresa Carreño grew up in a family with a strong musical heritage. Her grandfather, Caetano Carreño had been a distinguished Venezuelan composer. Her father, Manuel Antonio, an amateur pianist, gave his daughter her first music lessons and soon recognized her extraordinary talent. The family moved to New York City in 1862, where she continued her music studies.

(music: Kleiner Waltzer. Clara Rodriguez Plays the Music of Teresa Carreño. Clara Rodriguez, piano, Nimbus Records (www.wyastone.co.uk/nrl/) iTunes-Music-Classical-Clara Rodriguez)

When only eight years old, Teresa made her debut in New York’s renowned concert auditorium, Irving Hall. More public recitals followed, with audiences everywhere captivated by the young prodigy. Especially impressed was the pianist/composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk, whom Teresa came to admire greatly and from whom she took lessons whenever he was in town. In 1863, the young Teresa performed for Abraham Lincoln at the White House.

(music: Vals Gayo, op. 38. Clara Rodriguez Plays the Music of Teresa Carreño. Clara Rodriguez, piano, Nimbus Records (www.wyastone.co.uk/nrl/) iTunes-Music-Classical-Clara Rodriguez)

After two years of touring in America, the family sailed for Europe, settling in Paris in 1866. Teresa Carreño had no sooner arrived than she found herself performing for Rossini and Franz Liszt. She quickly gained a reputation as the “Walküre of the piano,” a testament not just to her tempestuous style at the keyboard, but to her vital personality as well.

(music: Intermesso, Op. 38. Clara Rodriguez Plays the Music of Teresa Carreño. Clara Rodriguez, piano, Nimbus Records (www.wyastone.co.uk/nrl/) iTunes-Music-Classical-Clara Rodriguez)

Over the next two decades she concertized indefatigably, and even pursued, briefly, a career as an opera singer, with some success.

(music: Venise Reverie, Barcarolle, Op. 33. Clara Rodriguez Plays the Music of Teresa Carreño. Clara Rodriguez, piano, Nimbus Records (www.wyastone.co.uk/nrl/) iTunes-Music-Classical-Clara Rodriguez)

Teresa Carreño had been composing since she was six years old, but it was during her time in Paris in the late 1860s and early 1870s that she began producing a steady body of work. The majority of her surviving piano works date from this period – well before her 20th birthday. In all, she composed over 40 pieces for piano, as well as works for voice and piano, choir and orchestra, and chamber music.

(music: String Quartet in B Minor: I Allegro maestoso. Chamber Music by Women Composers, Macalester Trio, Vox Records (www.voxcd.com/) iTunes-Music-Classical-Macalester Trio)

Teresa’s personal life followed a path as full of high energy and unexpected twists and turns as her musical career. She married four times and had five children. One daughter by the Italian opera singer Giovanni Tagliapietra, became a famous pianist in her own right.

(music: Une Revue à Prague Caprice de Concert, Op. 27. Clara Rodriguez Plays the Music of Teresa Carreño. Clara Rodriguez, piano, Nimbus Records (www.wyastone.co.uk/nrl/) iTunes-Music-Classical-Clara Rodriguez)

As the 20th century began, Teresa Carreño continued to perform. She made two world tours, and in 1912 marked her fiftieth anniversary as a concert pianist in a lavish celebration in Berlin.

(music: String Quartet in B Minor: II Andante. Chamber Music by Women Composers, Macalester Trio, Vox Records (www.voxcd.com/) iTunes-Music-Classical-Macalester Trio)

By September 1916, with WWI raging, it was no longer safe to be touring in Europe, and she returned to the United States. She died the following year in her New York apartment on June 12th at the age of 63. Her ashes were returned to her homeland in 1938.

(music: Berceuse, Op. 35. Romantic Gems, Christina Petrowski Quilico, piano. Indie Pool Records (www.indiepool.com/)
(http://indiepool.com/clientsites/petrowskaquilico) iTunes-Music-Classical-Christina Petrowska Quilico)

As a 13 year old, the pianist Claudio Arrau had heard Teresa Carreño perform in Berlin in 1916, describing her later, simply, as “a goddess.” In Caracas today, the Teresa Carreño Cultural Complex is named after this remarkable woman.

References:

Pendle, Karin, Women & Music: A History, Indiana University Press, 1991
Wikipedia online site
Mann, Brian, Teresa Carreño: A Biograhical Sketch, Vassar College Archives and Special Collections

Music:

Christina Petrowski Quilico recording courtesy of Indie Pool Records (www.indiepool.com/) and Ms Quilico (www.petrowskaquilico.com) (www.myspace/christinapetrowskaquilico.com)
Romantic Gems, Christina Petrowski Quilico, piano, Indie Pool Records, 2007:
Berceuse, Op. 35 (68 seconds)

The Macalester Trio recording courtesy of Vox Records (www.voxcd.com/)
Chamber Works by Women Composers, The Macalester Trio, Vox Records 1991
Teresa Carreño, String Quartet in B Minor:
Allegro maestoso (40 seconds)
Andante (31 seconds)

Clara Rodriguez recordings courtesy of Nimbus Records (www.wyastone.co.uk/nrl/)
Clara Rodriguez Plays the Music of Teresa Carreño, Clara Rodriguez, pianlo, Nimbus Alliance Records, 2009:
Kleiner Waltzer (44 seconds)
Vals Gayo, op. 38 (31 seconds)
Intermezzo, op. 38 (27 seconds)
Venise Reverie – Barcarolle, op. 33 (34 seconds)
Une Reverie à Prague Caprice de Concert, op. 27 (24 seconds)