Adolf von Henselt Biography, Life, Interesting Facts


Adolf von Henselt

Birthday :

May 9, 1814

Died On :

October 10, 1889

Birth Place :

Schwabach, Bavaria, Germany

Zodiac Sign :


Adolf von Henselt was a 19th-century German composer and pianist.  He has been considered one of the greatest virtuosos of his generation.

Childhood And Early Life

Adolf von Henselt was born on May 9, 1814, in Schwabach, Germany.  The family moved to Munich when he was three years old.  



Adolf von Henselt started studying music at the age of three.  His first instrument was the violin; then Adolf von Henselt moved on to the piano. Adolf von Henselt studied under several experts in his time.  One of his teachers was composer and pianist Johann Nepomuk Hummel

Those sessions were paid for with the assistance of King Ludwig I of Bavaria.  Another instructor was Austrian composer and music teacher Simon Sechter.  


Rise To Stardom

Adolf von Henselt was eighteen years old when he debuted at a public Munich concert.  Adolf von Henselt was celebrated as a concert pianist.  



After Adolf von Henselt studied for a few years with Sechter, Adolf von Henselt trained himself for two years to improve his technique.  In 1836 he toured some towns in Germany.  When Adolf von Henselt married in 1837, he and his wife were ready to settle down in Breslau, which is in modern-day Poland.  However, he went to live in St. Petersburg, Russia and perform concerts in that area around 1838.

Adolf von Henselt started working more frequently while in Russia.  His composition “Studies” impressed the Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna.   That was earned him the role of court pianist. 

Adolf von Henselt was appointed the inspector of musical studies at the Imperial Institute of Female Education. Adolf von Henselt instructed at other such institutes in major cities around Russia.  Adolf von Henselt also taught at Anton Rubinstein's Conservatory.


Later Life

The last composition Adolf von Henselt produced was “Piano Concerto in F Minor” in 1846.  It was also his only major orchestral work.


Personal Life And Legacy

Adolf von Henselt fell in love with Rosalie Vogel, but she was already married.  After her divorce, the couple married in 1837.  He died on October 10, 1889, in Bad Warmbrunn in modern-day Poland at the age of 75.  The cause of death was a cardiac disease.

The music of von Henselt influenced some musicians and music enthusiasts.  Most of his work and compositions were for piano, but he composed for other instruments and groups as well. 

Adolf von Henselt had a certain style to which he could stretch the hands of the range over the keyboard.  However, he influenced Russian music as well. His work was appreciated by composers such as Sergi Rachmaninoff.  


Adolf von Henselt suffered from a nervous breakdown when he was 22 years old.  Adolf von Henselt still toured for the sake of his health.  Many believe that stage fright was the reason that Adolf von Henselt stopped producing music in his 30s.  Adolf von Henselt stopped composing music when he was 30 and did not perform for an audience at the age of 33.

Summary Of Major Works

•    12 Etudes, Op. 2 (1837-1838)
•    Piano Concerto in F Minor, Op. 16 (1847)
•    Ballade in B-Flat Major, Op. 31 (1854)

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