Tobias Matthay (1858-1945), born in London of German parents, taught piano at the Royal Academy of Music in London, England for over fifty years. Matthay's revolutionary concepts about the displacement of tension and his attention to natural musical laws attracted considerable attention. In 1905 he opened the Tobias Matthay Piano School while continuing at the Royal Academy. The playing of Myra Hess, Irene Scharrer, Clifford Curzon, Moura Lympany and others trained by him soon established his position as one of the greatest pedagogues of all time. Students from throughout the world sought his advice on artistic as well as technical matters. In the 'twenties and 'thirties, Matthay ran an American summer school, leading to the establishment of the American Matthay Association in 1925. It was founded to promote Matthay's principles in the United States. During his lifetime, the members of the Association were chosen by Matthay himself. Since his death, members have included not only those who studied piano with him but also outstanding pianists and teachers who have worked in the Matthay tradition. The efforts of these musicians, their students and the memory of Mr. Matthay are celebrated in the annual piano festivals.
About the Matthay Festival
Festival is designed to offer participants direct and concentrated access
to the teaching principles of Tobias Matthay. Sessions are devoted to the
principles as they apply to teaching at all levels, including that of the
performing artist. Daytime sessions include lectures, demonstrations, performances
and master classes. Recitals are held in the evening. The year 2012 marks
the fifty-fifth annual gathering. Previous Matthay Festivals have
taken place at the
University of Maryland, the University of Central Florida,
Orlando, the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto; Chatham College,
San Jose State University, Williams College, Wheaton
College, Norton, MA; the Hageman Piano Studio and Dayton Art Museum; Kennesaw
State University, Pennsylvania State University, the
University of South Carolina, Wittenberg University,
the University of Kansas, and Columbus State University.
Matthay News is the title of the Journal of the American Matthay Association. There follows a brief excerpt from the Fall 1996 journal article entitled: Synopses of Lectures and Lecture Recitals from the 1996 Matthay Festival
DR. GARY WOLF - "On Memorization"
According to one author, "All learning is memory in one form or another." The pianist depends on a combination of visual, tactile and aural senses. There are some who have a mental picture of the score as they perform. Gary uses two techniques to help the pianist's memory. First, he gives his students a one page piece (not too hard), has them look at it for fifteen minutes, then he has the student play it from memory. Gary learned the second technique from Cecil Genhart. Using a two-part invention by J.S. Bach, Gary played the music until a student said "Stop". During the stop time Gary continued to think the composition and when the student said "Start" he re-entered the music. This pattern of stop-think-start continued to the end of the invention. As you can see the focus must always be on the music and the student must know what comes next.
Gary suggested to all who play from memory to build on the progression of music by making chains of sound which then progress to new chains of sound. Keep your mind on the thing you are doing at the time - don't anticipate too far in advance - expect to use your automatic response - and work from the sound first then to the key and then the finger.
From Mr. Matthay's work entitled "On Memorizing and Playing from Memory" comes the following quote, "The new must be connected-up with something already present in the mind. Isolated facts mean nothing - they must be connected-up. To use the memory-way successfully, allow each item of the text to suggest the next. Do not disturb the memory-progressions in performance."
List of Educational Works for Pianoforte by Tobias Matthay
in Chronological Order prepared by Jessie Henderson Matthay