Mieczyslaw Horszowski was born in Lvov, Poland on June 23, 1892 and received his first piano lessons from his mother, a student of Karol Mikuli, who had been a pupil of Chopin. He went on to study in Vienna with Theodor Leschetizky, who was a pupil of Beethoven's protegé Karl Czerny and the most important piano teacher next to Franz Liszt. In 1905, the young pianist played for Gabriel Fauré and he met Camille Saint-Saëns in Nice. The following year, he met Arturo Toscanini and Pablo Casals, both of whom later became close musical associates and personal friends.
Horszowski began concertizing throughout Europe in 1900 as an eight-year-old prodigy. At 10 he gave his first recital in Vienna. Within five years he was touring North and South America.
In 1911, Horszowski interrupted his career to devote himself to the study of literature, philosophy, and the history of art at the Sorbonne in Paris. Upon Casals' insistence, he returned to the concert stage and, after World War I, he settled in Milan. At the outbreak of World War II he was on a tour of Brazil; instead of returning to Europe, he came to the United States, where he made his home until his death.
Though he initially established his reputation as a young soloist, Horszowski subsequently devoted much of his adult career to chamber music. His longstanding collaboration with Casals is well known, and he took a major role in many of the prestigious chamber music festivals around the world, such as the Prades Festival, Casals Festival, Marlboro Festival, etc. Among the many famous musicians with whom he collaborated were Joseph Szigeti, Alexander Schneider, Walter Trampler, and the Budapest Quartet.
Other highlights of his performing career include appearances with Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony; a cycle of Beethoven's entire solo piano works, presented in twelve New York recitals in 1957; a similar cycle, also in New York, of all of Mozart's piano sonatas in 1960; and a series of ten Mozart concertos two years later at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He performed at the White House for Presidents Kennedy and Carter. In 1973, Horszowski participated in an unique concert at the American Museum-Hayden Planetarium commemorating the 500th anniversary of the birth of the great Polish astronomer, Nicholas Copernicus. Also at the Metropolitan Museum he recorded for the first time in history on the earliest surviving piano - an instrument built in 1720 by its inventor, Bartolommeo Cristofori. On this occasion Horszowski played sonatas by D. Ludovico Giustini di Pistoia, which were commissioned by Cristofori and are the first known compositions written for the pianoforte. Contemporary music also occupied a part of his repertory. He performed works by Honegger, d'Indy, Martinu, Villa-Lobos, Stravinsky, Szymanowski, and Joonas Kokkonen.
Horszowski made numerous recordings, beginning with his mid-1930s HMV discs with Casals, and continuing with solo, chamber and concerto releases for Columbia/CBS/Sony, Mercury, Vox, RCA Victor, Vanguard, Deutsche Grammophon, and Nonesuch. Many are now available on compact disc, and newly-discovered live Horszowski performances have continued to appear after his death.
As a link between the great musicians of the past and the young artists of the future, Horszowski provided an inestimable contribution to the world of music not only through his performances and recordings but also through his teaching. For many years he was a distinguished member of the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Among his more famous students are Seymour Lipkin, Anton Kuerti, Peter Serkin, Murray Perahia and Richard Goode. Horszowski died in Philadelphia on May 22, 1993, at the age of 100.
SERIES I(A) - PERFORMANCE FILES
Here are found programs, reviews, advertisements, promotional materials and like documents that are related to specific performances of Horszowski. The materials are organized chronologically by performance date, and span the period 1898 through 1991. This series is located in boxes 1 through 9. Additional materials are found in the Series I(b); Festival Files.
SERIES I(B) - FESTIVAL FILES
Horszowski maintained lifelong associations with some of the well-known summer music festivals. Boxes 10 to 13 contain materials related to each of these festivals. They are:
- Prades Festival in Prades, France
- Casals Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Marlboro Festival in Marlboro, VT
SERIES II - RECORDING ACTIVITY
Here are found royalty statements, contracts, correspondence regarding recordings, and reviews of commercial sound recordings made by Horszowski. The materials are organized alphabetically by recording company and are located in boxes 14 and 15.
SERIES III - COLBERT MANAGEMENT
This series contains materials related to Colbert Artists Management, Inc. which was Horszowski's agent in US. Materials such as contracts, lists of engagements, itineraries, statements, publicity materials, correspondence, & etc. are listed chronologically and found in box 16.
SERIES IV - CORRESPONDENCE
All of the letters here - boxes 17 to 19 - are incoming correspondence, including the ones written to/via Mrs. Horszowski or Colbert Management and their agents. Often Horszowski's replies are jotted down on blank space or on a small piece of paper and attached. This series is divided into three categories according to the contents of each item:
- Foreign Business Correspondence and Other Papers (Box 17)
Organized alphabetically by country, then by organization or person. Includes some legal papers (work permits, contracts, etc.)
- Domestic Business Correspondence (Box 18)
Organized alphabetically by organization or person.
- Personal Correspondence (Box 19)
Organized alphabetically by last names. Most of them are thank you letters and fan letters.
SERIES V - SUBJECT FILES
- Horszowski As An Adjudicator (Box 20)
Here are found documents related to competitions at which Horszowski participated in some way, as a jurist, as a member of board, etc., listed in chronological order.
- Magazine & Newspaper Articles (Box 21)
This series consists of newspaper and magazine articles about Horszowski, about other people such as Casals, and other general clippings.
- Other Documents (Boxes 22 & 23)
Here are found various documents that have been divided into the following categories: Biographical Materials, Horszowski Memorials, Photographs, Master Classes, Recommendations, Oversized Materials, and etc.