Karl Ulrich Schnabel
Although overshadowed by his father's achievement in expressing a new vision of the Classical repertory, Schnabel was still able to develop his own individual style of playing and a poetic insight. He sometimes played for his mother in her recitals and recordings and he is remembered for his imaginative interpretation of the Schubert song cycles. He also made some distinguished recordings of Schubert piano duets with his father. In 1926 he made his recital début in Berlin, gave recitals throughout Europe, North and South America, Australia and New Zealand.
For several years, he was active producing motion pictures; in 1932, he was producer, director and cinematographer of a feature-length film based on a German fairy tale.
Schnabel left Berlin in 1933 when Adolf Hitler came to power; he emigrated to the United States in 1939, shortly before World War II. In the same year he married the American pianist Helen Fogel (1911-74) with whom he played a large repertory of piano duets. They had a daughter, Ann.
After the war he became active again as a recitalist as well as an internationally renowned teacher of the piano. From 1947 on, he gave yearly international summer master courses at Lake Como, Italy. He taught master courses in England, Scotland, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, Israel, Brazil, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and all over the United States, including the Ravinia Festival. In 1940, he became head of all the instrumental departments at New York’s Dalcroze School. In later years he also became a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music. Pianists who have played in Schnabel's master classes include Murray Perahia, Richard Goode, Wyung Whon Chung, and Ursula Oppens. His former students include Leon Fleisher, Claude Frank, and Peter Serkin. Murray Dranoff International Two Piano Competition winners Edward Turgeon and Anne Louise-Turgeon studied with Karl Ulrich Schnabel. Van Cliburn competition winners Stanislav Ioudenitch (2001) and Jon Nakamatsu (1997) studied with Karl-Ulrich Schnabel as well.
Schabel wrote the book Modern Technique of the Pedal (1950). It has been translated from the original English into Italian, Korean, and Chinese and other languages. His editions of compositions by Schubert and Weber were also published. Later in life he taught numerous master classes at Mills College in Oakland, California.
Schnabel made many recordings, solo and four-hand, for HMV, EMI, Philips, Musical Heritage Society, and Town Hall among others. In addition to his distinguished solo performance career, Schnabel excelled as an accompanist. In 1956 he and his wife participated at the Holland Festival in five performances with orchestra and in 1972 at the Edinburgh Festival. Four years after his wife's death he formed a new duo with the Canadian pianist Joan Rowland.
His extra-musical interests included rock-climbing and photography. As a young man, he competed in table tennis tournaments. While still in Berlin he set up an elaborate miniature electric train set for which he even devised timetables. Schnabel's friend, the composer Paul Hindemith, participated in running the train set.
- Not to be confused with Helen Fogel the jazz singer.
- William Glock. The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, edited by Stanley Sadie (1992), ISBN 0-333-73432-7 and ISBN 1-56159-228-5
- web site of the web site of the Schnabel Music Foundation