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[This brief biography appeared in the Welte-Mignon Bulletin
June 1926. It is clearly based on the long article appearing in
The American Magazine
, May 1923, also available on this web site.
This web version is dated 26 September 2004.
MOISSAYE BOGUSLAWSKI was born in Chicago, in 1888
, of Russian
parentage. His father and grandfather, both musicians, were
victims of Russian political rigor and fled to America to escape
further persecution. His mother also was musical and her youthful
ambition was to become an opera singer. When her son was born she transferred
her ambition to him, hoping and praying that he would become a real musician.
When he was four years old she persuaded his father to buy an old
square piano, and he began to take lessons — one lesson a week, at fifty cents
each, which was all the family could afford. The period of his childhood
and youth was a dire struggle with poverty, which he won through only by
his own dogged perseverance.
When ten years old he began to go with his father to play at weddings.
At 15 he was playing the piano in one of Chicago's cheap dance halls for
from eight to twelve hours at a stretch — meanwhile keeping up his practice
at home. A little later he managed, by doing without everything but the
bare necessities of life, to take some lessons from Rudolph Ganz, who was
then sojourning in Chicago for a time — the only really worth-while
instruction he ever had.
Having already done a good deal of teaching, he obtained when 20 years
old an appointment as head of the piano department of the Kansas City
Conservatory of Music. While holding that position he began to give
recitals, and gradually his reputation as an exceptionally able pianist spread
throughout the Middle West and Southwest. In 1916 he made his first
visit to the East and won glowing tributes from the leading critics in New
York, Boston, and other cities. Since then he has appeared as soloist with
many of the best orchestras and has concertized throughout the country
with steadily growing acclaim. He is now professor of piano playing in the
Chicago Musical College.