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Ernest Hutcheson

Ernest Hutcheson (1871-1951) was an Australian pianist, composer and teacher. Born in Melbourne, he toured as a child prodigy at the age of five. He later traveled to Leipzig and entered the Leipzig Conservatory at the age of fourteen to study with Carl Reinecke, Bernhard Stavenhagen, and Bruno Zwintscher. Prior to the outbreak of World War I he taught at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin, but in 1914 he settled in New York, where he made his U.S. debut.

He is believed to have been the first pianist to play three concertos of Ludwig van Beethoven in a single concert: his performances of Beethoven's third, fourth and fifth with the New York Symphony Orchestra in the Aeolian Hall in 1919.

He became a member of the faculty at the Juilliard School, and successively Dean (1926–1937) and President (1937–1945) of the school. At Juilliard, he championed the use of radio musical broadcasts in education.

Hutcheson was also associated with the Chautauqua School of Music in Western New York State. Hutcheson provided a much needed refuge for George Gershwin at Chautauqua while composing and refining the Piano Concerto in F. Thanks to Ernest Hutcheson's kind offer of seclusion for Gershwin at Chautauqua where his quarters were declared off limits to everyone until 4 p.m. daily, Gershwin was able to successfully complete his piano concerto on time.

Ernest Hutcheson wrote concertos for piano; 2 pianos; and violin, and many solo piano works, such as a transcription of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries. His music has been little heard in concert or on recordings, but his Australian compatriot Ian Munro has recorded some of his piano pieces.

Hutcheson wrote important books The Literature of the Piano, The Elements of Piano Technique, and Elektra, by Richard Strauss: a Guide to the Opera with Musical Examples from the Score, among others.

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