Louise Japha

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Louise Japha
Portrait of Louise Japha.png
Born (1826-02-02)2 February 1826
Hamburg, German Confederation
Died 13 October 1910(1910-10-13) (aged 84)
Wiesbaden, German Empire
Residence Germany
Nationality German
Occupation Pianist, composer
Spouse(s) Wilhelm Langhans (1858 – 1874)

Louise Japha (also Louise Langhans-Japha; 2 February 1826 – 13 October 1910) was a German pianist and composer.

Life and work[edit]

Louise Japha grew up in Hamburg, where she learned to play the piano from Fritz Warendorf and composition from Georg August Groß and Friedrich Wilhelm Grund. Her first concert was on 10 February 1838 in the local Apollo Hall. To practice the piano she went to the piano factory of Baumgarten und Heins, where she met the young Johannes Brahms. They practised and played together and discussed his first compositions.[1] A long-lasting friendly relationship developed between Louise Japha and Brahms, who was seven years younger than her. Brahms dedicated one of his earliest works (Op. 6, six songs) to Louise and her sister Minna to express his gratitude.

At the invitation of Clara Schumann, Louise Japha moved to Düsseldorf with her sister in 1853 to complete her musical studies with the Schumanns. There she met Johannes Brahms again.[1]

In 1858, Louise Japha married the composer and music writer Wilhelm Langhans; they performed together. In particular, she was a celebrated pianist in Paris from 1863 to 1869. In 1868, she performed at the premiere of Brahms' Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34.[2] Franz Liszt dedicated his Beethoven Cantata No. 1 (Celebratory cantata for the unveiling of the Beethoven monument in Bonn, 1845) to her.[3] She worked in association with Stephen Heller, François-Auguste Gevaert, Camille Saint-Saëns, César Franck, and Gioachino Rossini. In 1874, her marriage with Wilhelm Langhans ended in divorce. She settled in Wiesbaden that year.

Japha wrote an opera, and composed string quartets, piano pieces, and songs - but not all her works were published.[4]


  1. ^ a b Max Kalbeck: Johannes Brahms. 4th Edition, Berlin. Deutsche Brahms-Gesellschaft ("German Brahms Society"), 1921.
  2. ^ Paul Joseph Bishop: The Viola in Brahms' Chamber Music, Dissertation for Master of Music, Department of Theory, Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, August 1947.
  3. ^ Annkatrin Babbe: Langhans, Louise in the Lexicon of Female Instrumentalists, Sophie Drinker Institute
  4. ^ Hermann Mendel: Musikalisches Conversations-Lexikon ("Musical encyclopedia"), Entry on Langhans, Wilhelm, Vol. 6, Berlin, published by Robert Oppenheim, 1876.