Robert Kahn (1865-1951) was a German romantic composer who was persecuted by the Nazis during World War II. His impressive repertoire was banned and nearly forgotten. His masterpiece, the outstanding “Piano Quartet No.2 in A minor Op 30,” will be premiered in LA on Sunday, Dec. 8.
Kahn was born into a Jewish family of Mannheim and entered the Koniglichen Hochschule in Berlin in 1882. Three years later, he moved to Munich to improve his musical education with Josef Rheinberger. During a visit to Vienna, the young prodigy befriended Johannes Brahms. He was also introduced to Clara Schumann, Hans von Bulow and Joseph Joachim.
After his military service, Kahn went back to Berlin where he worked as a freelance composer. A gifted pedagogue, he trained the most famous musicians of the period including pianists Arthur Rubinstein and Wilhelm Kempf, conductor Ferdinand Leitner and violinist Karl Klinger.
A piano virtuoso, he was also an active performer of chamber music and songs. A member of the Prussian Academy of Arts, he had to resign his position in 1934 because of the Nazis persecution against Jewish people. His music was prohibited and all of his performances were forbidden.
Isolated and vulnerable, Kahn decided to move to England in 1938. Despite his difficult situation, the master did not stop composing. His impressive repertoire includes more than 1,000 pieces for piano, two piano quintets, two string quartets, four piano trios, two piano quartets, three violin sonatas and two cello sonatas and choral pieces and multiple songs. He also wrote several orchestral scores.
Robert Kahn died in Biddenden, Kent on May 29, 1951. His work will be presented as part of Le Salon de Musiques Masters Rediscovered program on Sunday, Dec. 8 at 4 p.m. at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Fifth Floor, 135 N. Grand Ave. in Los Angeles. Tickets are $45 for students, $95 regular admission and include French champagne and a high tea buffet catered by Patina.
Access via the Music Center entrance located on Grand Avenue to the right of Kendall’s Brasserie and proceed to the elevators.
Self-parking is available at the Music Center Garage on Grand Avenue.