"Soloist, chamber musician and teacher" describe Nadia Reisenberg, whose studies with Leonid Nikolayev (St. Petersburg Conservatory), with Alexander Lambert (a Liszt pupil) and with Josef Hofmann provided her with the musical judgment and technical skills with which to build a career. The excitement of her early concert appearances in New York in the 1920s attracted much attention, and she became an important concert artist. As a concerto soloist, she appeared with Barbirolli, Rodzinski, Bodanzky, Koussevitsky, and others. Her performances of all twenty-seven of the Mozart concertos, played in consecutive weekly broadcasts with Alfred Wallenstein and the WOR Mutual Radio Symphony Orchestra in the 1939-40 season, are now legendary.
After about 1947 she chose to concentrate on small ensemble work and teaching. She performed with the Budapest and Juilliard String Quartets and with a variety of instrumentalists, including Joseph Schuster, William Kroll, Erick Friedman, Simeon Bellison, Alexander Schneider, Benny Goodman and with her sister, noted thereminist Clara Rockmore. She was associated with the Mannes College of Music and the Juilliard School but also taught at the Curtis Institute of Music, the University of Southern California, the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem and at other schools.
Reisenberg's repertory was extremely varied, but she was noted especially for her presentations of nineteenth and twentieth-century Russian piano works. She gave the New York premiere of the Rimsky-Korsakov Piano Concerto and played the first American performance of Vincent d'Indy's Symphony on a French Mountain Air, both with the New York Philharmonic.
Aside from her teaching, Reisenberg's principal legacy is her recordings. In addition to her commercial issues, there are approximately two hundred acetate transcription discs which include her performances of the Mozart concertos with Wallenstein, her repertory of solo and chamber music, and radio interviews.
The International Piano Archives at Maryland has published a book about Nadia Reisenberg and issued a double-compact disc record album as follows:
Robert Sherman and Alexander Sherman. "Nadia Reisenberg: A Musician's Scrapbook." College Park: International Piano Archives at Maryland, 1986. 192 p.
NADIA REISENBERG: An Album of Chamber Music. College Park: IPAM Records, 1989. (IPAM 1201 A-B). Includes performances with Alexander Lambert, Simeon Bellison, Joseph Schuster, Benny Goodman, Leonard Rose, Erick Friedman, Clara Rockmore, and members of the Juilliard Quartet.
SERIES I - PERFORMANCE FILES
Here are found programs, advertising, reviews and like documents that are related to specific performances. The materials are organized chronologically by performance date.
SERIES II - CORRESPONDENCE
Here are found letters to and from Nadia Reisenberg as well as letters written to other persons concerning her. There are 307 items in this series, separated into seven sub-series covering letters to Reisenberg, letters to her son Bob Sherman, and correspondence concerning Reisenberg but not addressed to her. Of particular interest are the letters she received from John Barbirolli, Abram Chasins, Walter Damrosch, Josef Hofmann, Aram Khatchaturian, Gregor Piatigorsky, Artur Rodzinski, William Schuman, Rudolf Serkin, Albert Spalding, Deems Taylor, Carl Tollefsen, Karl Weigl, and Efrem Zimbalist. Letters serving as contracts are included in the legal documents of Series III.
SERIES III - SUBJECT FILES
Here are found writings and publications of Reisenberg, records of her performing and recording career, documents related to her teaching and adjudication work, contracts (some in the form of letters) and other legal documents, and other written materials concerning her life and work. These materials are in twenty-eight sub-series covering her articles and other writings, her personal management and career promotion, her recording contracts, her repertoire, honors she received, passports for her and her family, materials concerning her family life, materials concerning her work as a teacher, clinican and adjudicator, miscellaneous biographical materials, two autograph books, a drawing, and several items, as yet untranslated, in Russian.
SERIES IV - RELATED MATERIALS
Here are found four items given to Reisenberg by friends:
- an autobiography of Sophie Satin
- a biography of Wassily Safonoff
- two printed musical scores
SERIES V - PHOTOGRAPHS
Here are found publicity and personal photographs (including photographic portraits) of Reisenberg, her friends and colleagues, her students, and her family as well as snapshots of places she visited. These are organized into seven sub-series:
- publicity and portrait photographs
- snapshots, Reisenberg teaching and performing
- colleagues and friends
- other materials related to Reisenberg
- family photographs
- miscellaneous photographs
SERIES VI - AUDIO MATERIALS
Here are found 524 phonograph discs, 86 tapes (reel-to-reel and cassette), and 10 Duo-Art piano rolls. These recordings are mostly Reisenberg performances but also include radio interviews with and about Reisenberg. Many of the discs represent unique transcription recordings and out-of-print commercial recordings.
SERIES VII - FILMS
Here is found a single reel of film entitled "1930-31 - Nadia's Parties and Hofmann."