Biography written by
Dr. Anastasia Belina-Johnson (in English)
(Release date Nov. 2013)



Biography written by
Dr. Anastasia Belina-Johnson
(in German)
(Released July 4, 2013)



Biography written by
David A. Ferré (1992).
Painting by Milein Cosman



My Guardian Demon
written by
Anita Halina Janowska
(1987) (1996) (2010)



Currie Hall (replaced by University Hall), University of Western Australia, Perth


University Hall, University of Western Australisa, Perth


Dr. Anastasia Belina-Johnson
radio interview (Sept. 2013)



From the Fryderyk Chopin Institute - André Tchaikowsky Biography in English Click Here
or in Polish Click Here



Typical biography errors (see text at right)
.



Andrzej Czajkowski - Age 15

Biographies of André Tchaikowsky
There are four biographies that describe the life and times of André Tchaikowsky:

  • A Musician Divided: André Tchaikowsky in his own Words (in English)
  • André Tchaikowsky: Die tägliche Mühe ein Mensch zu sein (in German)
  • The Other Tchaikowsky: A Biographical Sketch (in English)
  • ...Moj Diabel Stroz [My Guardian Demon] (in Polish)

Several websites offer brief biographies such as Culture.pl (Click Here - English) or (Click Here - Polish), Wikipedia (Click Here), and Bach Cantatas Website (Click Here).

A Musician Divided: André Tchaikowsky in his own Words
The writer is Dr. Anastasia Belina-Johnson, who is a Head of Classical Music department at Leeds College of Music, a UK’s leading contemporary conservatoire, and a member of LUCOS (Leeds University Centre for Opera Studies). This is a scholarly biography that draws from André's own diaries, other available resources, and from Dr. Belina-Johnson's own exhaustive research in Warsaw and other locations. So far as possible, she uses André's own words to describe his own life, and from his own perspective. The Forward is written by David Pountney, Intendent at the 2013 Bregenz Festival where André's opera, The Merchant of Venice, was given its world premiere on July 18th, 2013. This biography was published in November, 2013 by Toccata Press and is an expanded version of the German version of the biography (see below). Click Here or Click Here for purchasing information. Click Here for a review of the book by Music Web International.

A review from the May 2014 issue of Classical Music magazine by Michael Quinn (below).

A review from the March 2014 issue of International Piano magazine by Benjamin Ivry (below).

 
Included with the book is an audio CD of a private recital given by André at Currie Hall (now University Hall), University of Western Australia, Perth, on June 2, 1975. While the audio qualities are well below recording standards, it nevertheless provides insight into André's playing given his comments between the works. The seriously deficient upright piano used for the recital was partly disassembled during the recital to provide better sound. André introduced this disassembly as the world's first piano "strip tease." See below to hear samples from this CD.

0. Complete / book_cd_00.mp3
1 Introduction / book_cd_01.mp3
2 Bach Prelude in F-sharp minor, Book 2, BWV882 / book_cd_02.mp3
3 Bach Fugue in F-sharp minor, Book 2, BWV882 / book_cd_03.mp3
4 Commentary / book_cd_04.mp3
5 Schumann Fantasie in C major I / book_cd_05.mp3
6 Commentary / book_cd_06.mp3
7 Schumann Fantasie in C major II / book_cd_07.mp3
8 Schumann Fantasie in C major III / book_cd_08.mp3
9 Commenary / book_cd_09.mp3
10 Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor I / book_cd_10.mp3
11 Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor II / book_cd_11.mp3
12 Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor III / book_cd_12.mp3
13 Commenary / book_cd_13.mp3
14 Debussy Estampes: I "Pagodes" / book_cd_14.mp3
15 Commentary / book_cd_15.mp3
16 Debussy Estampes II "La soiree dans Grenade" / book_cd_16.mp3
17 Chopin Sonata No. 3 in B minor IV (fragment) / book_cd_17.mp3

André Tchaikowsky: Die tägliche Mühe ein Mensch zu sein
The writer is Dr. Anastasia Belina-Johnson, who is a Head of Classical Music department at Leeds College of Music, a UK’s leading contemporary conservatoire, and a member of LUCOS (Leeds University Centre for Opera Studies). This is a scholarly biography that draws from André's own diaries, other available resources, and from Dr. Belina-Johnson's own exhaustive research in Warsaw and other locations. This biography was translated from English into German by Wolfram Boder."Die tägliche Mühe ein Mensch zu sein" translates as "The daily task of being human," a line taken from Tchaikowsky’s diary entry dated 12 January 1980. This biography is published by Wolke Verlag and was released on July 4, 2013 in Bregenz, Austria to coincide with the world premiere of André's opera, The Merchant of Venice, and other events specific to André Tchaikowsky. Click Here for purchasing information (you can also purchase this book from online sources such as amazon.com). Click Here to view a PDF file of the Contents (Inhaltsübersicht) section.

The Other Tchaikowsky: A Biographical Sketch
This non-scholarly and overly detailed biography was written between the years 1985 and 1992 by David A. Ferré (webmaster) who intended to write a few magazine articles about André Tchaikowsky in 1985, but, instead continued his research for another +25 years. The results of his research may be found on this website. Click Here for the free PDF version of this biography, which you can read online or download and print. This book is also available as an e-book on the amazon.com website.

...Moj Diabel Stroz
While not exactly a biography, ...Moj Diabel Stroz [My Guardian Demon] is a book of letters written between André Tchaikowsky and Anita Halina Janowska that covers a period of nearly 35 years, and is as revealing as any biography. Available only in Polish (an English version is in preparation), this is currently in its 3rd printing. Click Here for online purchasing information from Empik.com. Use the player below to hear Anita Halina Janowska discuss the 3rd printing of her book (in Polish). Or Click Here for an *.mp3 file. For an online review of the book, Click Here (in Polish).


(Left to right) Dr. Anastasia Belina-Johnson, David A. Ferré, Anita Halina Janowska (Warsaw, November, 2012)

More about Dr. Anastasia Belina-Johnson
You can learn more about Dr. Anastasia Belina-Johnson in her own words from this September 2013 radio interview with Nick Ahad. Use the player or Click Here for an mp3 file (50Mb). The interview is a nominal 18 minutes in duration.

Summary Biography of André Tchaikowsky
The pianist and composer the world knew as André Tchaikowsky was born Robert Andrzej Krauthammer in Warsaw, Poland, on November 1st, 1935. He began his piano studies at the age of 4 with his mother, an amateur pianist, but with the onset of World War II, the family was forced into the Warsaw Ghetto and the lessons ended. Smuggled out of the ghetto in 1942 and given false identity papers with the name “Andrzej Czajkowski” (Western spelling, André Tchaikowsky), he went into hiding with his Grandmother Celina until the end of the war.

At the age of 9, Andrzej began formal piano studies at the State School in Lodz where his teacher was Emma Altberg, herself a student of the great Wanda Landowska. An extraordinary talent, he continued to the Paris Conservatory in 1948 becoming the youngest student ever admitted to the higher class of Professor Lazar-Lévy. His first public performance was in Paris in 1948 where he played Chopin and his own compositions. He graduated from the Paris Conservatory in 1950 with Gold Medals in sight-reading and piano performance at the age of 14.

Returning to Poland in 1950, he studied at the State Music Academy in Sopot under Prof. Olga Iliwicka-Dabrowska, and starting in 1951 at the State Music Academy in Warsaw under Prof. Stanislaw Szpinalski for piano and Kazimierz Sikorski for composition. He was awarded membership in the Polish Composers Union at the age of 15 after submitting his Suite for Piano. Of the Suite, Membership Committee Chairman Zygmunt Mycielski wrote, "Andrzej Czajkowski shows considerable composing talent through his musical inventiveness, which is remarkable for such a young boy. I can state the Czajkowski undoubtedly possesses a great talent, musicality, and originality."

In 1955, Andrzej Czajkowski won 8th prize in the Chopin Competition in Warsaw, and the next year, Czajkowski took part in the 1956 Queen Elizabeth of Belgium Competition, winning third prize, which launched his international career. Jury member Arthur Rubinstein was quoted as saying, "I think André Tchaikowsky is one of the finest pianists of our generation - he is even better than that - he is a wonderful musician." Under the auspices of the world's leading impresario, Sol Hurok, and with the considerable assistance of Arthur Rubinstein, huge concert tours followed for André Tchaikowsky (Hurok insisted on the Western spelling). Starting in 1956, André continued his piano studies in Brussels with the famous Polish pianist Stefan Askenase, and in 1957, composition with Nadia Boulanger at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau. It was at Fontainebleau that he completed a piano concerto dedicated to the American pianist John Browning.

In some recital programs, André slyly programmed his own compositions, including a Sonata (1958) by Uyu Dal (say, Oooo-you Doll). He also played with the major world orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under Dimitri Mitropoulos, Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Fritz Reiner and the Los Angeles Symphony under Jean Martinon, to name just a few. Several recordings were completed for RCA Victor and Pathé Columbia Records, adding to his busy schedule.

In 1960, André moved from Paris to London and started to divide his time between concert dates and composing. While this effectively ended his career as an international virtuoso, his remaining recital and concert dates provided a living and allowed him the time he wanted for composing and other interests such as Shakespeare's plays, playing bridge, and correspondence. This pattern of playing and composing continued until June 26th, 1982, when his life was claimed by colon cancer. He was 46 years old. His opera, The Merchant of Venice, was finished less the last 24 measures of orchestration, which were completed by composer Alan Boustead.

André was best known as a highly regarded pianist of the first rank, with highly individual and subjective interpretations in comparison to the "classic" interpretations. André gave to his performances a rare feeling of color and contour. His Chopin playing was witty, often with strong rubato and changes in tempi, but always revealing the structure of the composition. As a pianist, André thought musically first, and pianistically second.

As a composer, this review of a performance André's Trio Notturno comes close to describing the genius in André's compositions: "Having pledged himself to balance anew the unwieldy, sometimes inequitable, partnership of violin and cello with the modern grand piano, André Tchaikowsky proposed a linear basic texture, its outlines ornate, almost baroque, rich in harmonic density, passionately argumentative in expression. The two abruptly contrasted movements challenge instrumental virtuosity at every turn; they might have sounded simply hard going, but were revealed, with formidable cogency, as invigorating to play, and listen to, especially in the rapid middle section of the second movement, an alarmingly brilliant feat of the imagination."

Biography - Common Errors
There are several errors in existing biographies that have been carried over and reprinted time and time again. Most come from an early biography in promotional materials from the impresario, Sol Hurok, and others were introduced by André himself. The following are the three most common errors:

Date of Birth - Some biographies report André Tchaikowsky was born in 1936 instead of 1935. The André Tchaikowsky archives include a copy of the wedding license and legal ceremony between Felicja Rappaport and Karl Krauthammer (André parents) that took place in in Paris on December 11, 1934. It is further known and supported by documentation that Felicja was pregnant a few months after marriage, which would be early 1935, thus, the birth date of André Tchaikowsky on November 1, 1935 is almost certainly correct.

Death of Parents - It is widely reported that both of André parents died during WW II, which is incorrect. André's father, Karl Krauthammer, survived the war in France, indeed, André met his father in Paris in 1948. The purpose of the 1948 meeting was to ask the father to support André financially, which the father declined when he found out that André wanted to be a musician instead of a lawyer or a man of business. André retaliated by "killing" his father for all biographical purposes, however, there was a reconciliation with his father in 1980. André's mother, Felicja, was rounded up in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942 and taken to the Treblinka Death Camp where she was murdered.

André Escaped to Paris - André did escape the Warsaw Ghetto with his Grandmother Celina with false papers showing he was "Andrzej Czajkowski" instead of "Robert Andrzej Krauthammer." However, André and Celina went into hiding in various places, were eventually caught up in the Warsaw 1944 Polish Uprising and at the end of the war were in the Pruszkow Concentration Camp as ordinary Polish citizens. There were many close calls in being discovered as Jews but Celina was nothing short of amazing in protecting and saving André (and herself) from the death camps. Paris came later, in 1948, when André entered the Paris Conservatory.