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Maria Teresa Carreno Garcia de Sena was a Venezuelan pianist, singer, composer, and conductor.
Born into a musical family, she was at first taught by her father, then by Mathias, Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Anton Rubinstein and her talent was recognized at an early age. In 1862 her family emigrated to New York City, and at the age of 8 she made her debut at Irving Hall that same year. In 1863 she performed for Abraham Lincoln at the White House. In 1866 she moved to Europe, and began touring, making her debut as an opera-singer in 1876. It wasn’t until 1885 that she returned to Venezuela, and then only for a short period. In 1889 she returned to Europe for more touring, settling in Berlin as her home base. She mounted two world tours in the early years of the twentieth century, but her health deteriorated and she died in 1917, in her apartment in the Della Robbia at 740 West End Avenue on the north east corner at 96th Street in New York City.
Teresa Carreño married four times:
- 1873–1875 to violinist Émile Sauret by whom she had a daughter, Emilita
- 1876–1891 in a common-law union with Italian opera-singer Giovanni Tagliapietra, by whom she had two surviving children, Giovanni and Teresita (born 24 December 1882); the latter also became a famous pianist, under the name of Teresita Tagliapietra-Carreño
- 1892–1895 to pianist Eugen d’Albert, himself oft-married, and together they produced two more daughters, Eugenia and Hertha
- 1902–1917 to Arturo Tagliapietra, the brother of her former common-law husband Giovanni Tagliapietra.
Teresa Carreño was also a composer; she composed at least 40 works for piano, 2 for voice and piano, 2 for choir and orchestra, and 2 as chamber music. She also left many incomplete works. On April 2, 1905, she recorded 18 pieces for the reproducing piano Welte-Mignon. Her daughter Teresita recorded in 1906 for Welte-Mignon as well.
The Teresa Carreño Cultural Complex in Caracas is named after her. A crater on Venus is named after her.
Maria Teresa Carreño was a celebrated Venezuelan pianist who was a player of great power and spirit, known to her public as the “Valkyrie of the piano.”
She was given her first piano lessons by her father, Manuel Antonio Carreño, a politician and talented amateur pianist. Exiled because of a revolution, the family settled in New York in 1862; there Carreño studied with Louis Moreau Gottschalk. She next spent four years in Paris as a pupil of Georges Mathias and Anton Rubinstein, after which she embarked upon a long and highly successful concert career.
At various times she composed works for the piano as well as a string quartet and the Petite danse tsigane for orchestra; developed a mezzo-soprano voice of sufficient calibre to enable her to appear as an opera singer; and, with the second of her four husbands, Giovanni Tagliapietra, a baritone, organized and directed an opera company in Caracas. Her best known student was Edward MacDowell, whom she encouraged in composition. Her third husband was the pianist Eugène d’Albert. Her first husband, whom she married in 1873, was Emile Sauret, a violinist; her fourth husband (married 1902) was Arturo Tagliapietra, a brother of her second husband.