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Rose and Ottilie Sutro

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Title: Rose and Ottilie Sutro  
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Language: English
Subject: January 4, January 11
Collection: 1870 Births, 1872 Births, 1957 Deaths, 1970 Deaths, American Classical Pianists, Articles About Multiple People, Classical Piano Duos, Musical Groups Established in 1894, Sibling Musical Duos
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Rose and Ottilie Sutro

Rose Sutro (15 September 1870 – 11 January 1957) and Ottilie Sutro (4 January 1872 – 12 September 1970) were American sisters who were notable as one of the first recognised duo-piano teams.[1][2] It has been claimed they were the first such team, but Willi and Louis Thern preceded them by almost 30 years. They had a significant association with the German composer Max Bruch.


Rose Laura Sutro and Ottilie Sutro were both born in Oratorio Society of Baltimore); and Arianna née Handy (a pianist, singer, and daughter of a former chief justice of Mississippi).[3] Their uncle was Adolph Sutro, Mayor of San Francisco and founder of the Sutro Baths.

They were initially taught the piano by their mother. They studied in Berlin at the Royal Hochschule für Musik under Karl Heinrich Barth,[4] and made their debut in London in July 1894. Their American debut was with the Seidl Society in Brooklyn, New York on 13 November of the same year, in a Bach concerto.[5] They toured in the United States and Europe.

Ottilie injured her hand in 1904, making her unable to perform until 1910.[6] She made an arrangement for two pianos of Frédéric Chopin's Nocturne No. 2 in E-flat, Op. 9, No. 2, which has been recorded by Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow.[7] She also arranged Edward MacDowell's Dirge, and, with William Henry Humiston, MacDowell's Love Song, Op. 48, No. 2.[8]

For Duo-Art, they recorded the "Entrée de fête" from Charles Gounod's Suite concertante[9] and Dvořák's Slavonic Dance No. 1 in C.[10]

Rose died in Baltimore in 1957, aged 86, and Ottilie in 1970, aged 98.

The Sutros and Max Bruch

  1. ^ Maryland Historical Society
  2. ^ a b c d e Liner notes to the Martin Berkofsky/Nathan Twining premiere recording.
  3. ^ Donald G. Miller, The Scent of Eternity
  4. ^ Dietmar Schenk, Die Hochschule für Musik zu Berlin
  5. ^ The Seidl Society Concerts, NY Times, 14 November 1894
  6. ^ a b Christopher Fifield, Max Bruch: His Life and Works
  7. ^ Reviews: divine art
  8. ^ Library of Congress: Edward and Marian MacDowell Collection
  9. ^ The Reproducing Piano Roll Foundation
  10. ^ New Aeolian Duo-Art Rolls
  11. ^ Dr. Allan B. Ho, Music for Piano and Orchestra: The Recorded Repertory
  12. ^ Classical Net
  13. ^ Todesstage 1970
  14. ^ Knoxville Symphony Orchestra program notes


Rose and Ottilie Sutro were also heavily involved in the fate of the manuscript of Bruch's best-known work, his New York.[14]

The Sutros withdrew the concerto after the second performance and never played it again; they never played Bruch's original version at all. But they continued to make revisions to their version, amounting to thousands of changes, the last by Ottilie as late as 1961 (Rose having died in 1957). Ottilie died in September 1970, aged 98, only three days before Rose's centenary.[13] Some of her miscellaneous scores, manuscripts and newspaper cuttings were auctioned in January 1971. The pianist Nathan Twining purchased a box of unidentified papers for $11, and it proved to contain the autograph score of Rose and Ottilie's version of Bruch's concerto, a work unknown to him. The orchestral parts for the original version were bought by other people at the same auction, and Twining managed to track them down and buy the parts back from them.[2][6] He and Martin Berkofsky then reconstructed Bruch's original version, and they recorded it for the first time in November 1973, with the London Symphony Orchestra under Antal Doráti.[2]

[2] Bruch himself conducted a private rehearsal of the work with the Sutro sisters in Berlin, but gave permission for it to be played only in the United States (it is not clear from the source which version this was; apparently he knew that the Sutros had made revisions, but to what extent is not known).[2].Josef Stránský under New York Philharmonic In 1917 they played a further revised version of the work, with the number of movements reduced from four to three, with the [12] on 29 December 1916.Leopold Stokowski under Philadelphia Orchestra in 1916. They performed the premiere of this version with the Library of Congress Bruch gave them the sole performing rights to the concerto. Without Bruch's permission, however, they rewrote the work themselves to suit their pianistic abilities, altered the orchestration, copyrighted their version and deposited it with the [11]

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