Robert Kahn

Robert Kahn
Composer and pianist; born 21 July, 1865 in Mannheim, died 29 June, 1951 in Biddenden, Kent.


Robert Kahn had early success as a composer partially due to support from Joseph Joachim, Hans von Bülow, Clara Schumann and especially Johannes Brahms, who helped him considerably in Vienna in 1887. Having completed his studies he became a repetiteur at Leipzig Opera and from 1893 – 1930 was a highly respected teacher at the Königliche Hochschule für Musik and the Akademie der Künste (The Prussian Academy of the Arts) in Berlin. As a pianist he partnered with some of the greatest performers of his time, including the baritone Johan Messchaert and the violinist Adolf Busch. Friendships connected Kahn with the poets Gerhard Hauptmann and Christian Morgenstern. As a composer of Lieder, chamber and choral music he was a widely performed and published by major publishers until his vilification by the Nazis, who removed him from his position at the Akademie in 1934. In 1935 he began his extraordinary musical diary, the Tagebuch in Tönen, writing several short piano pieces per week. In 1939, when he was 73 years old, Robert Kahn and his wife Katharina emigrated to the UK, where he lived in Biddenden, Kent and Ashted, Surrey. Here he wrote the lion’s share of his Tagebuch, which by the time of his death in 1951 amounted to 1160 pieces.

Links and sources

Robert Kahn in the University of Hamburg online database of musicians persecuted during the Nazi Period

Robert Kahn Website 

Elsewhere in this resource

Robert Kahn and the Tagebuch in Tönen

Photo: Robert Kahn

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