Austrian-born US pianist, known particularly for his interpretations of Beethoven and Schubert.
Schnabel studied the piano in Vienna with Theodor Leschetizky (1830–1915), who summarized his pupil's approach to music in the words: ‘You will never be a pianist; you are a musician’. However, Schnabel made his debut as pianist in 1890 and thereafter embarked on a long and successful career as a concert pianist. In 1905 he married the contralto Therese Behr, and their partnership in Lieder recitals culminated in a historic series of Schubert programmes in Berlin in 1928. Schnabel also partnered many of the greatest string players of his day in chamber music; his pupils included Clifford Curzon and Claude Frank.
Until 1933 Schnabel spent much of his life in Berlin, touring Europe and the USA extensively; he was also much sought after as a teacher. When the Nazis came to power, he emigrated to the USA, where he became a naturalized citizen in 1944. He also composed three symphonies, five string quartets, a piano concerto, and many songs and piano pieces.