time line

Ruzomberok, Prague, Reichenberg

  • 1882 November 27th, born in Rosenberg (Rosyahegy), Hungary, today Ruzomberok in Slovakia
  • 1887 Family moves to Prague, where his father is the cantor of the Pinkas Synagogue
  • 1889 When he is seven years old, the family moves to Reichenberg/Bohemia. First piano lessons from his father
  •  1894/95 Piano lessons with Gustav Albrecht, music director in Zittau. School years end after he passes the first secondary school examination (O-level)

Berlin, Dresden, Weimar

  • 1897 Studies piano under Franz Kullak in Berlin
  • 1898 Meets Ferruccio Busoni. Studies piano under José Vianna da Motta, later under Hermann Scholtz and Felix Draeseke (theory) in Dresden
  • 1900 First publication in the Sozialistischen Monatsheften. Joins the Social Democratic Party. Attends a Busoni master course in Weimar. Becomes a member of the military band in Josefsstadt. Begins to play concerts. In Reichenberg, first concert as soloist in Liszt's Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major
  • 1903 Becomes the musical consultant for the Volksbühne [People's Theatre] in Berlin
  • 1905 Active in education committees of the Social Democratic Party, in unions and in community choirs
  • 1906 First public piano recital in Berlin
  • 1908 Piano teacher at the Stern Conservatory of Music and later at the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory, Berlin
  • 1908 October 3rd, marries Grete Kussel
  • 1911 Founding of the Kestenberg Trio, success as an interpreter of Liszt
  • 1914 Outbreak of World War I
  • 1916 Becomes editor of the journal Der Bildermann (Paul Cassirer, publisher). Start of lifelong close friendships with several visual artists and authors, including Ernst Barlach and Oskar Kokoschka
  • 1917 As a pacifist, joins the Unabhängige Sozialdemokratische Partei (USPD - Independent Social Democratic Party)
  • 1918 End of World War I and proclamation of the Weimar Republic
  • 1918 December 1st, appointed music advisor in the Prussian Ministry of Science, Art and Public Education
  • 1921 Appointed professor at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. His programmatic work Musikerziehung und Musikpflege [Music Education and the Fostering of Music] is published. A music department is established at the Central Institute for Education and Instruction, which goes on to organize the first annual School Music Weeks (renamed the Reich School Music Weeks in its 7th year
  • 1922 May 22nd, Examination requirements for secondary school arts teachers are instituted. The Institute for Church Music is expanded by Kestenberg and renamed The Academy for Church and School Music
  • 1923 April 25th, Kestenberg submits his Denkschrift über die gesamte Musikpflege in Schule und Volk [Memorandum on Fostering Music in Schools and Among the People] to the Prussian state parliament, marking the start of the school music reform
  • 1925 Issues controversial ministerial decree on private music instruction
  • 1927 The Kroll Opera opens, an experiment to create a "people's opera" with an avant-garde orientation that Kestenberg strongly supports. By 1931, the Kroll Opera has already been shut down
  • 1929 Appointed to the Ministerial Council in the Prussian Cultural Ministry
  • 1929 Inauguration of the book series: Die Musikpädagogische Bibliothek [Library of Music Pedagogy] which continues to be published by Noetzel Edition.
  • 1931 Publication of the Jahrbuch der deutschen Musikorganisation [Yearbook of German Music Organization]
  • 1932 December 1st, is forced to "retire" by the right-wing Reich government

Prague, Paris

  •  1933 National Socialists come to power under Adolf Hitler, marking the end of the Weimar Republic. Slandered and haunted, Kestenberg emigrates to Prague, Czechoslovakia
  • 1934 Founder member of the Gesellschaft für Musikerziehung, (Společnost pro hudební výchovu, S.H.V.), with headquarters in Prague. Kestenberg directed its department of international relations. First congresses are held in Prague (1936), Paris (1937) and Switzerland (1938)
  • 1938 Flees to Tel Aviv via Paris
  •  1938-45 General manager of the Palestine Symphony Orchestra (today: Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra) in Tel Aviv
  • 1945 Founds and directs the Midrasha le Menchanchim leMusika, a seminar for music teachers, in Tel Aviv. Intensive involvement with piano pedagogy, late texts on music education
  • 1952 Hands over direction of the Midrasha to Dr. Herzl Shmueli. Due to encroaching blindness, continues to be active solely as a piano teacher
  • 1953 First and only visit to Germany after World War II (Badenweiler and Berlin). Named honorary president of the International Society for Music Education.
  • 1962 January 13th, Leo Kestenberg dies in Tel Aviv