Hélène de Montgeroult - the piano pioneer

One of those times when you discover a composer who sweeps you right away: Montgeroult 's music is so unique , her life story is fascinating, one of those women I would live to have coffee with in Paris:)



Helene, Marquise de Montgeroult (1764-1836), was not only a wonderful composer and a piano virtuoso, but also, and probably more importantly, a great pedagogue . She was among the first group of piano professors at the Paris Conservatoire when it was founded in 1795, and the first woman to be appointed on the highest level at the highest salary. ("Helene de Montgeroult and the art of singing well on the piano" by Maria Rose)


Her huge pedagogic output Cours complet pour l'enseignement du forte-piano, contains 114 etudes!

I was surprised to see that this fully detailed method was composed long before Chopin, but found out that this method was known to Antoine Marmontel , one of the most distinguished pedagogues in the Paris Conservatoire. Did Chopin know about her legacy when he composed his etudes?


Here is a wonderful video on Montgeroult , her life, the instruments she used and her pedagogic contribution:



On my next concert, which will be dedicated to French women composers, I will perform her Sonata op. 5 no. 3 in f sharp minor ,a true genuine composition, full of emotional and original context, seems she was ahead of her time in many ways .


Here is a wonderful recording of Edna Stern on a Pleyel from 1860.




Here is etude no. 26 , a real beauty and pianism.




And here is an etude that will remind us of the "revolutionary" etude by Chopin! similar texture and technique , a true pianistic revolution.



another interesting article:


I am curious to find more about this great artist, and still have many questions: why was she neglected so much all these years? why her method was never published by any editor? why did she quit her position at the Conservatoire after a few years? was her decision to leave was personal, or connected to her colleague Louis Adam , who wrote also a piano method? hopefully more and more research will follow.


I am thinking about recording some of her compositions , next album...