Claudio Arrau
1903 - 1991

    contents    recent developments  
world acknowledgment    chronology    unreleased recordings  
complete discography   bibliography    photo gallery 
 contributors' list    website sponsors' register  
contacting 'ArrauHouse'    miscellanea

Direct access to  is completely free of charge,
but you may help ensure its continuity by becoming a  Sponsor.

 'ArrauHouse' - A Chronology 

 Child Prodigy Period - to 1912 

This Chronology is incomplete as it only contains entries of
events which have been sufficiently corroborated so far.



Claudio (aka Chinito) ARRAU León, born at midnight between the 6th and the 7th of February in Chillán (Ñuble, Chile), the third child of Dr. Don Carlos ARRAU Ojeda (1856-1904), an ophthalmoligist, philanthropist and guitar player, and Doña Lucrecia LEÓN Bravo-de-Villalba (1859-1959), a piano teacher.

Claudio's date of birth is usually celebrated on 6th of February, at mother's insistence.

Brother Carlos (1893) and sister Lucrecia (Quecha, 1897) were already members of the household.

[Birth registration No. 254, page 129, entered in Chillán on 03 March 1903 and kept by the Chillán Civil Registry (of Births, Deaths & Marriages)].

Claudio Arrau's father dies in a horse riding accident in March, aged 48.

His funeral reflected his standing amongst the locals and was reported as having attracted unprecedented large numbers of mourners from the entire community of Chillán.
Claudio Arrau is baptised at the El Sagrario Parish Church of Chillán on 14 January (Register 80, page 40).
Valparaíso's devastating earthquake of 16th August also devastated Chillán - Claudio's life was saved by nanny.
Claudio demonstrates an innate interest and talent for music at an extremely young age and receives early piano lessons from mother.
1908 Chile 'Little boy' Claudio Arrau appears announced in the 'El Comercio' daily of Chillán as taking part in a large music concert featuring multiple musicians, to be held today Thursday 17th September at 9:00 pm in the 'Teatro Municipal' of Chillán, as part of Independence Day celebrations, with proceeds earmarked for the benefit of the Chillán Regiment Band.

Claudio is shown as contributing with his solo interpretation of
L. Streabbog's Louis XIII Air, Op.115.  It is stated that he also interpreted other pieces for four hands acompanied by his mother.

[Other source: La Discusión, Chillán, 17 Sept 1908]

























Charity function -

Claudio Arrau's very first public performance at the still under construction Municipal Theatre of Chillán is reported as having taken place on Thursday 17th September (or Saturday 19th*) at around 9:30 pm (sic), as a 5-year-old child prodigy using pedal extensions especially made for him

The performance is understood as having included more than one composition.  The following options have been put forward:

Option 1 -
> L. Streabbog's Louis XIII Air Op.115
> A piece for four hands, with mother
[Source: El Comercio daily, Chillán, 17th and 22nd September 1908]

Option 2 -
> Beethoven
> Liszt
> Mozart
[Source: 'Recuerdos y Pájaros', book by Enrique Bunster, Editorial del Pacífico, Santiago, Chile. Page 358]

Option 3
> Chopin's easier Études
> Schumann's Kinderscenen
> Beethoven's Variations on "Nel cor più non mi sento"
> Beethoven's Rondo
> Liszt's Consolation
[Source: Arrau's own imprecise reminiscence in 'Clavier' magazine of November 1972, possibly intermingled with subsequent recitals as a child or referring to the whole of the initial period].

Option 4 -
> Mozart:   Sonata K545
> Beethoven:   Variazioni su "Nel cor più non mi sento"
> Chopin:   The first of "Troi nouvelles études"
> L. Streabbog:  L'Aire Louis XIII
> A piece for four hands, with mother
[Source: 'Claudio Arrau, Il filosofo', book by Piero Rattalino, Zecchini Editore, Varese, 2006]

[N.B.: *Actual date remains somewhat doubtful, most likely as a result of a newspaper's reprint mistake]



Claudio Arrau's mother decided to move temporarily to Santiago and settled at Calle Dieciocho (street name).  Mother soon made various contacts and enlisted the help of admiring critic and writer Antonio ORREGO Barros, so that the child was able to give piano playing demonstrations before numerous Members of Parliament in Santiago.





After listening to the child playing at his presidential residence, the then President of Chile, Mr. Pedro MONTT, entertained the idea of Claudio Arrau's studying overseas. 

The President expressed his admiration for the child
in a written dedication, dated 30 September 1909, inserted in a book on famous musicians [Las nacionalidades de la música (?)], given as a present.  The dedication read:

To Claudio Arrau as a token of the loving admiration whith which I have heard him playing the piano at the age of six years.  In Santiago, on the 30th day of September of 1909.  Pedro Montt ".

Influential Chilean musician Enrique SORO Barriga was reported to have stated after the recital that he had just heard a genious playing.

[Source: El Comercio newspaper, Chillán, 16 October 1909]







Claudio Arrau's second charity piano recital in Chillán, at the O'Higgins Theatre, on Sunday 24th October, as a 6-year-old child prodigy playing:

> Haydn's Gypsy Rondo,
> Beethoven's Bagatelle in A minor Für Elise,
> Friedrich Seitz's Student Concert
(with Heriberto Urrutia on the violin), and
> Grieg's Le matin suite (with mother at the piano).

ource: El Comercio newspaper, Chillán, Thursday 28th October 1909]
[Source: La Discusión newspaper, Chillán, Thursday 28th October 1909]



Claudio Arrau's first piano recital in Santiago, at the age of 6, including works by Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin, received with amazement.

[This entry needs completion]



Premonitory assessment of Claudio Arrau's first Santiago recital by critic and writer Antonio ORREGO Barros, in an article entitled The Chilean Mozart, published by the Selecta magazine of Santiago in November 1909.

[Source: Selecta, Year 1, No.8, pages 275 & 276]



Claudio Arrau undertakes private tutoring under distinguished Italian Music Teacher Bindo PAOLI  from the Santiago Conservatory, after demonstrating his skills in a transposition examination taken before Teachers Paoli and Luigi Stefano GIARDA in November 1909.



Claudio Arrau receives in February 1910 a Scholarship from the Chilean Parliament to undertake studies in Santiago.  Paoli tutored Claudio on Mozart's sonatas and Bach's préludes.



Claudio Arrau's piano recital at the La Moneda Presidential Palace in Santiago on Saturday 4th June, at the age of 7, before an audience including President Pedro MONTT and a number of ministers, diplomats, and artists.
The recital included works by Bach, Grieg, Mozart, and Carl Reinecke.  Violinist Lucía Vázquez accompanied the child in two of the works.

In October, public recital by Claudio Arrau in Chillán in aid of the Proletarian Shelter and the Sister Isabel Hospital's Convalescents Fund.  The program included:

> Haydn:  Gypsy Rondo
> Beethoven:  Bagatelle in A minor Für Elise
> Seitz, Friedrich:  Concert (with violinist Heriberto Urrutia)
> Greig:  Le matin (with mother at the piano)

[Source: El Comercio newspaper, Chillán]



In November, the scholarship privilege was extended to pursuing studies in Berlin, at the time held as the artistic capital of the world.
[The scholarship was subsequently debated and renewed several times in Parliament, until discontinued in 1921].


Newspaper La Discusión of Chillán, dated 5th January, publishes an article entitled Claudio Arrau, written by Efraín VÁSQUEZ Jara, describing the unbelievable technical resources displayed by Claudio in order to compensate for his small size whilst making delightful music.


Valparaíso's Sucesos magazine of 11th February publishes an article detailing Claudio Arrau's recent visit to the magazine premises, where he was asked to pose for a photo and provide his first ever autograph. 

The article contains a record of the optimistic predictions about Claudio's future made by the Musical Section Head of the Fine Letters Council, Mr Agustín CANNOBIO.  

A recital for the press given by Claudio following his visit to Sucesos is also mentioned.


Farewell recital in Chillán on Sunday 7th May, by an eight-year-old Claudio Arrau, with a program comprising:

> Chopin:  Étude No.3
> Schumann:  Andante and Variations (for two pianos)
> Mozart:  Fantasie in D minor
> Moszkowski:  Danse Espagnole (for four hands)

> Chopin:  Rondo (for two pianos)
> Beethoven:  Variations on a Theme
> Raff, Joachim:  Tarantelle (for four hands)
> Duvernoy, J.B.:  Feu roulant Op.256 (for two pianos)

In May, Claudio Arrau departs for Germany, from the port of Valparaíso, on board the German cargo-and-passenger ship Titania, accompanied by his mother (aged 55) and siblings Carlos (18) and Lucrecia (14), in a 4-week journey accross the Atlantic.
(Aunt Celina
joined the family later).
At age 8, on his way to Germany, first piano recital by Claudio Arrau at the Chilean embassy in Buenos Aires, before an astonished audience especially invited for the occassion, which included a music critic for La Nación newspaper of Buenos Aires.

Piano demonstrations by Claudio Arrau in Berlin at the age of 8.


Whilst a child prodigy, Claudio Arrau perforates in Berlin the following pieces on four Römhildt Virtuola piano rolls:  

Moscheles, Ignaz:  Gesellschaftskonzert, 1. Satz, Allegro maestoso [Roll 5167]
Moszkowski, Moritz:  Tarantelle, from Op.77
[Roll 5168]
Haydn, Josef: 
Allegro in F major
[Roll 5169], and
Bach, J.S.:  Klein Präludium No. 3 in C minor
[Roll 5170]

Original copies of these rolls (including the instrument to play them) are preserved at the Pianola Museum of Amsterdam.

[N.B.: These rolls have never been reissued on any medium]

Claudio Arrau became a short-term pupil of Waldemar LÜTSCHG and, subsequently, of Paul SCHRAMM in Berlin.  (Waldemar Lütschg used to perforate Virtuola rolls).
The four Römhildt Virtuola piano rolls perforated by Claudio Arrau the previous year are manufactured in July-August.
Chillán's La Discusión newspaper of 5th December publishes an account of Claudio Arrau's progress in Berlin with Waldemar Lütschg, based on advice provided by a Chilean diplomat in Germany, Mr. Matte.  

The article also describes the unique invitation received by Claudio the previous year to perforate pieces on Virtuola rolls.
₪ ₪

End of 'Child Prodigy Period' section

This section last updated on 16th May 2024