Gebhard was born in Sobernheim, Germany, but moved at the age of 10 with his parents to Boston, Massachusetts in the United States, where he studied piano and composition with Clayton Johns until 1895. He went to Vienna, Austria for four years, where he studied under Theodor Leschetizky, and returned to Boston in 1899. He made his piano debut in 1900 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He enjoyed a lengthy career as one of the notable American pianists of the early 20th century. Later in his career, he became a music teacher and taught a number of other famous pianists, most notably Leonard Bernstein. The composer Alan Hovhaness also studied with him.
Gebhard composed music for piano, chamber orchestra and symphony orchestra. His Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra was given its first performance by the New York Philharmonic on November 12, 1925, with the composer at the piano. Among Gebhard's other works are the symphonic poem, Across the Hills (1940), Divertimento for Piano and Chamber Orchestra (1927), Waltz Suite for two pianos, the song cycle, The Sun, Cloud and the Flower and numerous works for piano.
Gebhard's book, The Art of Pedaling, was published posthumously in 1963.
References and footnotes
- Staff. "HEINRICH GEBHARD, PIANIST AND TEACHER", The New York Times, May 6, 1963. Accessed September 10, 2015. "North Arlington, N. J., May 5 - Heinrich Gebhard, pianist, teacher and composer, died here today at the age of 84. He had lived with his daughter, Mrs. John Petrick of 5 Millar Place."
- Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (3rd edition). (1919). Ed. Theodore Baker and Alfred Remy. p. 301
- Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Seventh Edition, Revised by Nicolas Slonimsky, Schirmer Books, New York, 1984, page 807