Teresa Carreño, her life, her studies and herself as a teacher by Clara Rodriguez

The figure of Teresa Carreño has resonated worldwide since her birth in Caracas on the 22 December 1853 in the heart of a deeply musical family.

5.Teresa Carreño. La Habana 1864
Teresa Carreño. La Habana 1864

Teresa Carreño was one of the most accomplished pianists of the nineteenth and twentieth century, giving performances all over Europe, the United States, Cuba, Venezuela, Australasia and South Africa during a career where she gained the admiration of the most prominent musicians of her time. Gounod, Rossini, Liszt, Berlioz, Brahms, and the young pianists Claudio Arrau and Segei Rachmaninoff to name but a few, complimented her talent. She played concertos with The Berlin Philharmonic under Arthur Nikisch, August Scharrer and Hans von Bülow. Also under the baton of Gustav Mahler. She performed Grieg’s piano concerto with Grieg himself conducting and it has been reported that the composer said to her: “Madame, I did not know that my music was so beautiful”

She performed several times at the Henry Wood’s promenade concerts and an entry in his memories says about Teresa Carreño: “It is difficult to express adequately what all musicians felt about this great woman who looked like a queen among pianists – and played like a goddess. The instant she walked onto the platform her steady dignity held her audience who watched with riveted attention while she arranged the long train she habitually wore. Her masculine vigour of tone and touch and her marvelous precision on executing octave passages carried everyone completely away.”

103785350_10157307713121334_574390913650181716_nAt a glance, during her lifetime: she composed since the age of 6 a total of 70 works for the piano, a string quartet and a Hymn to Simon Bolivar. For sometime she became a successful opera singer and conducted operas. She married, at the age of twenty, violinist Emil Sauret with whom she had a daughter, Emilita. From the age of twenty six she was in a common-law marriage with singer Giovanni Tagliapietra and had three children, just two of them survived: Teresita and Giovanni. In Berlin where she lived for thirty years she married pianist Eugene D’Albert (1892-1895) and had two more daughters, Eugenia and Hertha. In 1902 she married Arturo Tagliapetra, brother of her second husband.

Composers Amy Beach and Edward MacDowell dedicated concertos to her, Teresa Carreño performed them as much as she could in the USA and in Europe.

When the British pianist Moura Lympany gave a recital at Carnegie Hall in 1957 (forty years after Carreño’s death) the flyer announcing her appearance contained a quote from the Los Angeles Herald & Express: “Since the days of Clara Schumann and Teresa Carreño, there have been few women pianists who could be counted among the great. Last night Moura Lympany gave evidence of possessing qualities which place her high among her historic colleagues.”

Now for this article, I would like to talk a little about her education and also about her role as a teacher since it seems to me that the legacy of great pianists is also found on their pupils, it is a way or perpetuating the art of piano playing.


Her father, Manuel Antonio Carreño, started teaching her to play the piano at the age of six, writing for her hundreds of exercises . An admirer of Teresa Carreño’s virtuosic playing, W. S. B. Mathews wrote a booklet about her: Teresa Carreño, Biographical and Critical, published in Chicago when Carreño was thirty three years old in which there is an interview where she pays tribute to her father in an attempt to contradict the myth created by the press during her time as a child prodigy. Just after her debut in the Irving Hall of New York at the age of 8, those press comments ignored this fact and stated that she could play in such an amazing way thanks to some sort of sortilege or miracle.


Teresa Carreño at the age of eight. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Frederick Hill Meserve Collection.

The truth is that apart from her immense talent, her father, Manuel Antonio Carreño looked after her education until she left the parental home at the age of 18. Teresa Carreño says in said booklet the following:

“The best method (to my mind) to practice the piano has never been published (which was the one my father employed with me) To make the work quicker and easier, my father wrote five hundred exercises, which I had to do over every day for a year, comprising all the scales, arpeggios, trills, thirds, octaves, etc., etc. and difficult passages from different works of all the composers he knew (and they were quite a number!); and these I had to do every day, as I say, each day in a different key, both major and minor; and when I finished all the twenty four modes, I had to begin again, and so on until I suppose the end of my life. I had to do these running the whole length of the keyboard, in four or five different “touches,” including “staccato.” As you can imagine, when the time came to take up the “studies,” my execution had reached such a point that the controlling of the difficulties in these was a matter of comparative ease, and very quick work. To this day I begin with my practicing always by two hours of these exercises of my father’s, which of course I have to reduce to a certain limit so as to be able to do the rest of my work.”Teresa Carreño at the age of eight. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Frederick Hill Meserve Collection.

Intermittently, Teresa Carreño had lessons in New York with the virtuoso and much admired pianist of the time in the Americas, Louis Moreau Gottschalk from when she was nine up to her move to Paris at the age of thirteen. In the French capital she studied with Georges Mathias, a pupil of Chopin and after a recital of hers at London’s Hanover Square Rooms in 1868, with Anton Rubinstein.

Teresa Carreño in turn was much loved as a teacher. Her pupils talk about her great generosity and warmth; one of them, Marta Milinowsky wrote her biography in 1940 “Teresa Carreño, by the grace of God” and another one, Adelaide C. Okell, wrote the preface and published in 1919 a guide that Teresa Carreño wrote on the subject of pedaling: “Possibilities of Tone Color by Artistic Use of Pedals” . In said manual Carreño explains in as much detail as possible the subtle mechanics of pedaling. According to Okell, Carreño said: “If a student does not work out the pedal effects for herself, after all I show her on the subject, she is hopeless!”

Teresa Carreño | Broadway Photographs

For Teresa Carreño, the tone production was the most important aspect of piano playing and to achieve it in her own words: “The great principle in piano playing, relaxation, is what I seek most indefatigably’ to inculcate in my pupils. By relaxation I do not mean flabbiness, or the tendency of some students to flop and swim all over the piano. Relaxation signifies control, and it affects the mentality of the pianist no less than his arms, wrists and fingers. I wish to make my pupils feel that piano playing is easy, not difficult; to make them regard practice as a joy, not a burden; to have them go to the piano as a painter, with a beautiful idea to express, goes to his canvas, takes up his palette and brushes and mixes his colours. But the tension under which so many players labor is dreadful. It is seen even in the muscles of the neck and face. Now this physical distress communicates itself to the intellect, so that the interpretation comes to suffer from strain. When I hear such pianists in recital I instantly feel all the discomfort they are experiencing. But too few piano students understand that relaxation is to be achieved by a mental process.”

Her famous pupil, Edward MacDowell, was about nine years old when he began to study with her. She had some anecdotes to relate of the famous composer.“His forearm was very stiff and I had no end of trouble with him,” “I used to sit at the keyboard and illustrate and then say, ‘Now, Eddie, do it just as I did.’ He would reply, ‘I can’t—that’s you—not me.’ However, the example had a good effect upon him and all through his life those who knew him realized how earnestly he worked for relaxed arms and hands.”

At the age of seventeen MacDowell sent to Teresa Carreño a roll of manuscript, accompanied by a letter in which he said: “You know, I have always had absolute confidence in your judgment. Look these over, if you will. If there is anything there any good, I will try some more, but if you think they are of no value, throw them in the paper basket and tell me, and I’ll never write another line.”

Teresa Carreño said, “I sat down and played them. There were in that bundle, the First Suite, the ‘Hexentanz,’ ‘Erzählen,’ Barcarolle and Etude de Concert. I wrote to MacDowell, ‘Throw no more into the paper basket, but keep on!’”

Teresa Carreño in the role of Zerlina (Mozart’s Don Giovanni opera) From Frank Craven. Theatrical library

Carreño’s fulfillment as a teacher is described with the following comment as she was reading the numerous letters and messages of affection that she received from her pupils: “That, after all, is the greatest delight in a teacher’s life—or should be—this altogether maternal love which she gives her pupils and to which they respond. I have had no happiness comparable to that of beholding mine turn to me as to a mother. To fathom the student’s soul is the teacher’s highest duty.”


“One of the Greatest of All Women Pianists, Whose Death – Occurred in New York on Tuesday, June 1 2” reads the title of an article that appeared on the American press. Teresa Carreño died in her New York home in 1917. Amongst the pallbearers of her coffin were Ignace Jan Paderewski, Ernest Hutcheson, Walter Damrosch, Walter Josef Stransky, Mischa Elman, Franz Kneisel, Albert Spalding and Charles Steinway.

Louis K. Anspacher gave a memorial speech in which he mentioned the fact that she had been on stage for more than half a century and that she had played at the White House for Presidents Lincoln and Wilson also a marvelous mother and friend. “As an artist she was a master-woman, full of inspired energy and triumphant, majestic purpose. She was truly a Valkyr among pianists. Above all things, she was an initiated and a consecrated soul. “

Her ashes were later repatriated to Venezuela and are kept at the Panteón Nacional in Caracas.

There is a crater on planet Venus called Teresa Carreño.

Clara Rodriguez plays the piano music of Teresa Carreño

Clara Rodriguez plays Mi Teresita waltz by Teresa Carreño  


Clara Rodriguez, Piano Teacher in London

VISIT: https://claris97.wixsite.com/clararodriguez


Making Every Lesson Count


With an experience of over 25 years, Clara Rodriguez has been an active, sought after private teacher of students that travel from as far afield as India, France, different corners of the UK and Venezuela to receive tuition from her.

Her students have won many competitions and scholarships to different schools in their countries. Some have entered the main music colleges of the UK such as the Royal Welsh, the Guildhall, The Royal
College of Music and Trinity College as well as Oxford and Cambridge universities and are now pursuing successful performing careers.
As a member of the of the Royal College of Music Junior Department staff since 2006 her students have performed at the Wigmore Hall, the Albert Hall (Elgar Room) and have been successful in the Royal Philharmonic Society Duet Competition as well as on international competitions.
She is in demand as an adjudicator in several countries and gives masterclasses internationally.

Languages: English, Spanish, French

 “It gives me great pleasure to be able to share my passion and expertise with my students. From day one, they learn important techniques to help them boost their skills and self-esteem.I  adapt my lessons according to each student’s needs. Contact me today to learn how I can help you achieve your pianistic goals.”


“The Venezuelan virtuoso pianist Clara Rodriguez”
The Daily Telegraph
Education and Concert career

Clara Rodriguez has built up an enviable international reputation for her innovative programme planning juxtaposing standard
repertoire and works by South American composers.
Her playing has been described as being highly expressive,
sensitive with considerable digital clarity and stylistic acumen.

“An act class” was how the Sunday Times described her new released CD.
At sixteen she was in her eighth year at the Conservatorio Juan
José Landaeta of Caracas when she took part in a national competition judged by Michael Gough Matthews and
Barbara Boissard, the then directors of The Royal College of Music’s Senior and Junior Departments. She was awarded the Teresa Carreño Scholarship that enabled her to come to London to study at the Royal College of Music with Phyllis Sellick.
There she studied for a year at the JD and at Senior College
graduated from the Performers’ Course and a two year Post-Graduate.

She was the recipient of many prizes and awards such
as the Scarlatti Prize, the Mozart Prize and the Percy Buck Award, as finalist in the Chappell Prize; with the RCM orchestras she performed concertos by Mozart, De Falla, Ravel and Gershwin.
Clara Rodriguez has also studied with Guiomar Narváez (Venezuela), Regina Smendzianka (Poland),
Niel Immelman (U.K.) Paul Badura-Skoda (Austria) and Irina Zaritskaya (Russia).
In Caracas, aged sixteen she made her debut playing Mozart Piano Concerto K595 with the Simón Bolívar Orchestra under the baton of José Antonio Abreu; from then on Clara Rodriguez’s career as a solo pianist has taken her to perform worldwide.
In London she is a hugely popular performer who plays to great acclaim at the Southbank Centre, Wigmore Hall, Barbican Centre,
Saint Martin-in-the-Fields, Leighton House, Bolívar Hall, St. James’s Piccadilly and St John’s Smith Square.
Recently she has been invited to play a series of celebratory
concertos with the Simón Bolívar Orchestra as well as with other El Sistema Orchestras for their 40th Anniversary. Clara Rodríguez
also played in the celebrations of the 35th Orquesta Municipal de Caracas Anniversary Concert Series and the Fitzrovia Festival
(Fitzfest) alongside clarinetist and conductor Michael Collins.

Her commercial recordings on labels such as ASV, Meridian and Universal have received outstanding critical acclaim. At present she has six albums on Nimbus Records of the piano music by:
Teresa Carreño, Ernesto Lecuona, Moises Moleiro and Federico Ruiz.
Her CD, “Venezuela”, contains a collection of dances by 18 composers and
“Americas without frontiers” her newly recorded album with music from countries such as Haiti, Cuba, Colombia, Brazil, The USA, Argentina and Venezuela is also available to the public.
Other titles on her discography are:
Chopin Late Works – Classical Recording Company
El Cuarteto & Clara Rodríguez – Live in Concert in Caracas.
These CDs are broadcast by networks worldwide.

I’m here to make the learning process easier and more enjoyable for you. Contact me to see how my teaching can help.



Clara Rodriguez plays a Recital at Arundells – Salisbury on Thursday 3 May 2018 at 7.00 pm

I am very pleased to go back to play in this wonderful place in Salisbury. 59 Cathedral Close was the home of ex Prime Minister of the UK, Sir Edward Heath, from 1985 until his death.

As part of the Dominic Seligman Project I have played half a dozen recitals on Sir Edward’s beautiful Steinway piano.

This time my programme will include:

Beethoven: “Moonlight” Sonata Op. 27 No 2

Debussy: Suite Bergamasque

Ravel: Ondine

César Prato (piano version by Pedro Toro) .: Media luna andina

Germán Darío Pérez: Ancestro

Pianist Dominic Seligman will introduce the pieces and read poems that inspired “Clair de lune” and “Ondine”. He will also perform pieces by Chabrier and Poulenc.

 Photography by Antolin Sanchez

Pianist Clara Rodriguez brings Latin American music to Stamford


Clara Rodriguez plays on Saturday 28th April at the the Stamford International Music Festival

I am delighted to take part in this most exciting festival organized by the young violinist Freya Goldmak with whom I shall have the pleasure to perform the UK première of “Cantabile” by Miguel Astor as well as 20 minutes of Latin Amercian solo pieces plus the wonderful “Cuatro estaciones porteñas” by Astor Piazzolla -piano trio version.

Saturday 7:30pm, Oswald Elliott Hall, St Paul’s Street, PE9 1QD

Clara Rodriguez is one of the most distinguished international pianists working in the country. Well-known for her championing of South American composers alongside music from the traditional classical canon, her extraordinary discography and the ‘alluring vivacity’ of her playing has earned her high praise from the likes of Gramophone.

For this evening concert, Rodriguez has designed a fantastic programme for our enjoyment: five solo pieces, highlighting a repertoire of composers from Cuba and her native Venezuela; a UK premiere for violin and piano by renowned Venezuelan composer Miguel Astor; and finally, a selection of works by Astor Piazzolla to round off an evening of heady South American charm.

An evening not to be missed!thumbnail_partitura CD


Teresa Carreño – ‘Mi Teresita waltz’ (solo)

Luisa Elena Paesano – ‘Pajarillo’ (solo)

Evencio Castellanos – ‘Mañanita caraqueña’ (solo)

Federico Ruiz – ‘Zumba que zumba’ (solo)

Ernesto Lecuona – ‘Conga de medianoche, La comparsa, Malagueña’ (solo)

Miguel Astor – ‘Cantabile’, UK premiere, for violin and piano to be performed by festival founder Freya Goldmark and Clara Rodriguez

Astor Piazzolla – Selection of Tangos for Double Bass and Violin


Astor Piazzolla – ‘Oblivion’ for String Trio

Astor Piazzolla – ‘Four Seasons of Buenos Aires’ for Piano Trio

Americas Without Frontiers CD by pianist Clara Rodriguez reviewed on The Sunday Times

Refined playing

“The Venezuelan is a doughty champion of Latin-American music, and her programme of piano pieces reaches below and often jaunty surface to capture the region’s deeper soul.

The Venezuelan works by Antonio Estévez and Juan Carlos Núñez are especially captivating, while the Gershwin Three Preludes are a class act.”

Stephen Pettit, Sunday Times Jan 28 2018

On Record -The latest essential releases – Sunday Times Culture Magazine

#AmericasWithoutFrontiers. Nimbus Alliance NI6346

“Américas Sin Fronteras” CD en el Sunday Times de Londres

“La venezolana*  es una valiente defensora de la música latinoamericana, y su refinada manera de tocar el programa de piezas para piano alcanza la superficie más baja y con frecuencia alegre para capturar el alma más profunda de la región.Las obras venezolanas de Antonio Estévez y Juan Carlos Núñez son (especialmente) cautivadoras, mientras que los Tres Preludios de Gershwin son un acto magistral”

*Pianista, Clara Rodríguez

Stephen Pettit. Sunday Times Culture Magazine. 28.01.2018

Clara Rodriguez, piano, Nimbus Alliance NI6346

#AmericasWithoutFrontiers #AméricasSinFronteras #CD,

Américas Sin Fronteras CD reseñado en la revista International Piano. “Un excelente lanzamiento.”


Americas Without Frontiers Works by Prieto, Ramírez, Pérez, Estévez, Núñez, Nazareth, Gershwin, Vitier, Cervantes, Lamothe and Romero

Clara Rodriguez (pf), Carlos Nené Quintero (perc.) Carlos Rodríguez (bass) Edwin Arellano (cuatro), Manuel Rangel (maracas)

Nimbus NI 6346


“El lado multiculturalista de las Américas se celebra en este vivaz disco de la pianista venezolana Clara Rodríguez, que representa la cultura musical de amerindios, europeos y africanos.

Desde el principio, el ambiente es de fiesta, con maracas añadidas al Apure en un viaje de Genaro Prieto, un joropo

El colombiano Germán Dario Pérez aporta un bambuco, Ancestro, antes de que las 17 Piezas Infantiles del venezolano Antonio Estévez hablen de una profundidad que desmiente su título.

Rodríguez interpreta esta música con habilidad innata, encontrando infinita ternura y nostálgica lamentación.

Dos tangos de Nazaret, llenos de energía (el segundo es el conocido Odeón), conducen a un relato robusto de los Tres Preludios de Gershwin antes de que surja la gloriosa Danza de fin de siglo de José María Vitier, con su resplandeciente trabajo de digitación.

La seductora pieza por Lamothe, La dangereuse, ofrece otro punto culminante.

Un excelente lanzamiento.”


Colin Clarke. Marzo Abril 2018. International Piano magazine.



Americas Without Frontiers CD “A superb release”

Americas Without Frontiers CD reviewed on International Piano magazine

Americas Without Frontiers Works by Prieto, Ramírez, Pérez, Estévez, Núñez, Nazareth, Gershwin, Vitier, Cervantes, Lamothe and Romero

Clara Rodriguez (pf), Carlos Nené Quintero (perc.) Carlos Rodríguez (bass) Edwin Arellano (cuatro), Manuel Rangel (maracas)

Nimbus NI 6346


The multiculturalist side of the Americas is celebrated in this vivacious disc by Venezuelan pianist Clara Rodriguez, from Amerindian to European to Black African. Right from the off, the atmosphere is that of fiesta, with added maracas to Genaro Prieto’s Apure en un viaje, a Venezuelan joropo.

Colombian Germán Darío Pérez contributes a bambuco, Ancestro, before 17 Piezas Infantiles by Venezuelan Antonio Estevez speak of a depth tha belies their title. Rodriguez plays this music to the manner born, finding infinite tenderness and nostalgic regret.

Two tangos by Nazareth, full of energy (the second is the well known Odeon), lead to a robust account  of Gershwin’s Three Preludes before Cuban Jose Maria Vitier’s glorious Danza de fin de siglo, with its glittering passagework, emerges.

Lamothe’s slinky La dangereuse offers another highlight.

A superb release.”




Colin Clarke. March April 2018. International Piano magazine.


Crítica al CD “Américas Sin Fronteras” por Ray Picot. ILAMS #AmericasWithoutFrontiers

Su impacto es inmediato y positivo

En octubre pasado Clara Rodríguez tocó un interesante programa donde exploró la música del Caribe, dos meses después acaba de lanzar su última grabación, Americas Without Frontiers Américas Sin Fronteras (Nimbus Alliance NI6346) que nos lleva por el área explorada en el concierto y más allá.

Aunque solo he tenido el CD muy poco tiempo, su impacto es inmediato y positivo,  ya he explorado la discografía de esta pianista, pero debo decir que este álbum representa una experiencia completamente nueva.

Muy imaginativa, Clara Rodríguez sustenta el álbum con algunos arreglos idiomáticos que incorporan sutiles percusiones. Estos aparecen en diferentes lugares a través del mismo, aunque nunca afectan, sino que resaltan el interfaz único de la música de arte sudamericana y caribeña y los estilos más populares.

Escuchar a Nazareth primero en piano solo y luego con la percusión es una idea inspirada, uno se pregunta ¿por qué esto no se hace con más frecuencia?. Si bien hay algunos nombres de compositores que no son familiares, la elección de la música es perfecta, ya que un ritmo de baile se desliza en otro.

También hay conceptos extramusicales detrás del álbum, que son interesantes y muestran lo bien conectada que está la Sra. Rodríguez con el mundo en el que se creó esta música.

En este álbum se hace una conexión muy importante con el centenario del venezolano Antonio Estévez en 2016, con las maravillosamente idiomáticas 17 Pieces infantiles, que le valieron a el compositor el Premio Nacional de Música en 1957. Estas son piezas cortas fascinantes que suenan seductoramente simples en las manos de Clara Rodriquez, ¡lo cual estoy seguro de que no es así! Las piezas individuales exhiben muchos cambios de humor, respirando un aire indígena distintivo, pero siempre melodioso e interesante.

Clara las toca con afecto y virtuosismo consumado y representan algunos de los mejores trabajos del compositor para el piano, es sorprendente que no se les conozca mejor.

Otro punto a destacar fue la selección de 5 estudios de Ariel Ramírez, que, como su maravillosa Alfonsina y el mar, evocan sin esfuerzo el área del Río de la Plata.En todo el álbum, las piezas familiares respiran un aire nuevo en un entorno transformado y con interpretaciones llenas de tanta devoción.

En resumen, es un disco para disfrutar y saborear por los aficionados y los recién llegados a un repertorio fascinante, del cual Clara Rodríguez es la campeona indiscutida.”

En resumen, es un disco para disfrutar y saborear por los aficionados y los recién llegados a un repertorio fascinante, del cual Clara Rodríguez es la campeona indiscutida.Clarines_blue_wednesday

Ray Picot. ILAMS Ibero Latin-American Music Society. London 2017



Its impact is immediate and positive

Another interesting programme was played last October by Clara Rodríguez, where she explored the music of the Caribbean, two months later she has just released her latest recording, Americas Without Frontiers (Nimbus Alliance NI6346) which takes us around the area explored in the concert and beyond. Whilst I’ve only had the CD a very short time, its impact is immediate and positive, though treading in some familiar areas from this pianist’s discography, the album is an altogether new experience.

“The choice of music is perfect, as one dance rhythm slips into another”

Rather imaginatively Clara Rodríguez bookends the album with some idiomatic arrangements which incorporate subtle percussion. These also pop up in places across the programme, though they never jar, but rather point up the unique interface in South American and Caribbean art music and more popular styles. Listening to Nazareth firstly on solo piano and then with the percussion is inspired, and you wonder why this is not done more often. Whilst there are some names of composers who will be unfamiliar, the choice of music is perfect, as one dance rhythm slips into another. There are also extra-musical concepts behind the album, which are interesting and shows how well connected Ms Rodríguez is with the world in which this music was created.

“They are played with affection and consummate virtuosity”

A very important connection is made in this album to the 2016 centenary of the Venezuelan, Antonio Estévez, with the wonderfully idiomatic 17 Pieces infantiles, which resulted in the composer being given the National Music Award in 1957. These are fascinating short pieces which sound beguilingly simple in Clara Rodriquez’ hands, which I am sure they are not! The individual pieces exhibit many mood changes, breathing a distinctive indigenous air, but always tuneful and interesting. They are played with affection and consummate virtuosity and represent some of the composer’s best work for the piano, and it is surprising they are not better known.


Another highlight for me was the selection of 5 Studies by Ariel Ramírez, which, like his wonderful Alfonsina y el mar, effortlessly conjure the area of Río de la Plata.

Across the album, familiar pieces breathe a new air in transformed surroundings and with such dedicated performances.

“In short this is a disc to enjoy and savour by afficionados and newcomers to a fascinating repertoire, of which Clara Rodríguez is an undisputed champion.”

Ray Picot ILAMS IberoLatinAmericanMusicSociety. London 2017Clarines_blue_wednesday