Heinrich Neuhaus: life, philosophy and pedagogy

Crothers, Galina I. (2010) Heinrich Neuhaus: life, philosophy and pedagogy. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.


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This thesis is an interdisciplinary study and it lies within the fields of the history and theory of pianism, aesthetics of performance, piano pedagogy and the philosophy of musical education. It investigates the creativity of one of the most prominent figures in the Russian school of piano performance, Heinrich Neuhaus (1888-1964). Neuhaus created a unique, original and innovative school of piano performance in Russia. He not only successfully taught, but also directed his thought to the understanding of the art of pianism. The main aim of this thesis is to investigate his legacy as a pianist and teacher and to establish his contribution to the theoretical knowledge in this area.

The First Chapter examines his life and creativity in historical retrospective, including an investigation of his family background, education and influences that determined many of his views on musical art and piano pedagogy. A full biography of Neuhaus has never been written, so this is a first investigation of his life. The investigation was based on the existing information, provided by writers on Neuhaus in the Soviet period of time and also the material including new documents from the Neuhaus Museum in Yelizavetgrad Kirovograd. Some publications in the West, relating to people close to Neuhaus, which were previously unknown in Russia were used. In addition, interviews with the relatives, pupils and the people who knew Neuhaus were also included. This chapter also considers the role of Neuhaus in the society in which he lived and his contribution to cultural life in the Soviet Union.

The Second Chapter deals with Neuhaus's views on the performance of music of Skryabin and Chopin. Neuhaus's name as a performer was always associated with the names of these composers and he influenced many pianists of the next generation. Neuhaus's views, based on his own accounts and the recollections of his contemporaries and music critics, will be investigated and systematized. Neuhaus's performance of some of the works of these composers will be also examined in order to support his views and to see how they were reflected in the performance.

The Third Chapter investigates Neuhaus's aesthetic and philosophical views, and traces the way Neuhaus developed his thoughts, as they became a foundation for his teaching principles. It is known that Neuhaus was searching for justification of his aesthetic views in the work of some Russian philosophers. These connections will be examined in order to see how the studies of these philosophers influenced Neuhaus's thought. The names of these philosophers and their works are still little known in the West, so the fragments of their writings will be introduced for the first time, as it is known that the works in question have never been previously translated into English.

The Fourth Chapter deals with Neuhaus's philosophy of education and his teaching principles. Special attention will be given to the manner in which he developed his principles from the general to the particular. The fundamental structure of his thought will be examined. The previous studies on Neuhaus's pedagogy were written in Soviet times and they were restricted to only small aspects of his work as a teacher. This investigation looks at Neuhaus's work as a teacher in greater depth and in a much broader way.

This is the first dissertation that has researched Neuhaus's legacy widely in order to understand both his creativity as an artist and his personality – which, in turn influenced his creativity. The findings of this investigation allow the conclusion that Neuhaus approached the understanding of the art of performance from a different point of view, which offers new perspectives on the process of the development of the performer. His piano pedagogy was derived from the essence of the art of performance and its needs. This approach played a major role in providing him with great success in the history of the piano performance.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
November 2010Completed
Subjects: CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-02 - performing arts > CAH25-02-02 - music
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Richard Birley
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2017 15:30
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 16:54
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4928

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