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Arthur Friedheim papers

Identifier: PIMS-0041

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The collection contains musical compositions of Arthur Friedheim, materials related to the writing and publication Life and Liszt by Arthur Friedheim, Friedheim family correspondence, photographs, clippings, and ephemera. Special items include a lock of Franz Liszt's hair, a lock of Arthur Friedheim's hair, an engraving autographed by Franz Liszt, a telegraph invitation to Friedheim to perform before Queen Victoria, and letters to Arthur Friedheim from Albert Einstein, Luigi von Kunits, and Walter Damrosch.

This collection also contains clippings and programs about the musical career of Arthur Friedheim's wife, Madeleine Friedheim. Articles, correspondence, and press releases related to the founding of the Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards are also in this collection.


  • Creation: approximately 1884 - 1979


Language of Materials

English and German.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for use at the Peabody Archives. Contact for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright. All requests for permission to publish or perform materials in this collection must be submitted in writing to the archivist of the Arthur Friedheim Library.

Biographical / Historical

Arthur Friedheim (26 October 1859 to 19 October 1932), born in St. Petersburg from German parents, was a pianist, conductor, pedagogue, and composer. He began his musical studies at the age of eight, and his formal concert debut was at the age of nine at the Imperial Theatre in St. Petersburg. Anton Rubinstein (1829-1894) was Friedheim's teacher from 1868-1869. Friedheim graduated from the University of St. Petersburg, and in 1877, became a pupil of Franz Liszt (1811-1886). Friedheim left Liszt in 1879 for conducting engagements throughout Germany, but resumed studies during the last eight years of Liszt’s life. During this time, Friedheim lived with Liszt in Rome and Weimar, and acted as Liszt’s personal secretary. Friedheim's extensive work and contact with Liszt contributed to his reputation as a Liszt scholar and musical interpreter.

Arthur Friedheim married Madeleine Friedheim, a pianist and soprano, in London in 1888. Her singing debut was with her husband at the piano. From 1891 to 1895, Arthur Friedheim taught and played in the United States with intermittent trips to London. While in London, he was decorated by Queen Victoria, and was later decorated by President Taft at the White House. From 1908 to 1911, he conducted in Munich. Friedheim then settled in the United States in 1915, and moved to Toronto in 1921 to teach. He came back to the United States in 1926. While Friedheim lived in Toronto, Madeleine and their children, Eric and Mignon, remained in New York City.

Friedheim contributed to Alberto Jonás' monumental Master School of Modern Piano Playing and Virtuosity (1922), and also published numerous articles in English, French, and German about piano performance and pedagogy. He had a regular column in The Musical Observer called "Pianists' Open Forum with Arthur Friedheim." Friedheim's memoirs and many essays about Liszt were collected by his Canadian pupil Theodore Bullock, and published under the title Life and Liszt (New York: Taplinger, 1961). In addition to his scholarly writings, Friedheim edited the works of Chopin. Friedheim was a dedicated composer, though few of his works were published. His operas include The Last Days of Pompeii, not performed; Alexander and Thaïs and Die Tänzerin (Karlsruhe, 1897), both performed in Cologne, 1904; and Die Christianer and Giulia Gonzaga, both unfinished. He wrote two piano concertos, an early orchestral overture, and a march, E pluribus unum (1894). His Concerto in B minor was premiered in Weimar in 1881 with none other than Franz Liszt playing the piano reduction of the orchestral accompaniment. Luigi von Kunits and the New Symphony Orchestra premiered Friedheim's tone poem, Transitions, in 1926 at Massey Hall in Toronto.

Friedheim's career as a soloist was international, with performances before Queen Victoria; in New York City venues such as Town Hall, the Princess Theatre, the New York Liederkranz, Aeolian Hall, and Steinway Hall; on a Cunard Line cruise ship; Massey Hall in Toronto; and in prestigious private concerts. He collaborated with the Academy String Quartette in 1922 in Toronto. Friedheim was a featured soloist on the same program as Pablo Casals on "Mr. Bagby's Musical Morning" Series at the Waldorf-Astoria in 1926.

Arthur Friedheim's career as a piano pedagogue began in 1898 when he taught at the Chicago Musical College until 1900. From 1902 to 1904, he taught piano at the Royal Manchester College of Music. From 1921 to 1926, he was a professor at the Canadian Academy of Music. After his return to the United states, Friedheim was Dean of the piano department and taught at the New York School of Music and Art on Riverside Drive in New York City. He was also the Dean of the Los Angeles College of Music and Arts of the University of the West. In 1927, he received an honorary doctorate from the Valentine Conservatory of Music and Arts in Wilmington, Delaware.

Arthur Friedheim's career in Toronto, Canada connects him to the Peabody Institute through one of his most famous pupils, Reginald Stewart. Stewart maintained a relationship with the Friedheim's for decades after Arthur's death. Stewart went on to conduct the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and hold the position of Director at the Peabody Institute. Friedheim's second connection to the Peabody Institute is the dedication of the Arthur Friedheim Music Library, made possible by a $2 million donation from his son, Eric Friedheim, in 1990.

For additional information, see "Friedheim, Arthur" in Oxford Music Online.


4.39 Cubic Feet (7 medium flat boxes, 2 legal boxes, 2 letter boxes, 1 half-size legal box, 1 half-size letter box)


Musical compositions, correspondence, photographs, writings, clippings, and ephemera of pianist Arthur Friedheim and members of the Friedheim family.


Materials are arranged in series and alphabetically within most series.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Eric Friedheim in 1992, 1993, and 2000.

Existence and Location of Copies

Some letters, scores, clippings, and programs have been digitized and are available online as part of the Arthur Friedheim digital collection:

Processing Information

Processed by Melissa Wertheimer in approximately 2011.


Guide to the Arthur Friedheim papers
Matt Testa
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Peabody Archives Repository

Peabody Institute
1 E. Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore MD 21202 USA