José Vianna da Motta

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Statue of Vianna da Motta in the Jardim do Torel, Lisbon Jardim do Torel 02.JPG
Statue of Vianna da Motta in the Jardim do Torel, Lisbon

José Vianna da Motta (sometimes spelt 'Viana da Mota') (22 April 1868 1 June 1948) was a distinguished Portuguese pianist, teacher, and composer. He was one of the last pupils of Franz Liszt. The José Vianna da Motta Music Competition was founded in 1957 in his honor.

Portugal Republic in Southwestern Europe

Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country located mostly on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments.

Pianist musician who plays the piano

A pianist is an individual musician who plays the piano. Since most forms of Western music can make use of the piano, pianists have a wide repertoire and a wide variety of styles to choose from, among them traditional classical music, jazz, blues, and all sorts of popular music, including rock and roll. Most pianists can, to an extent, easily play other keyboard-related instruments such as the synthesizer, harpsichord, celesta, and the organ.

Teacher person who helps others to acquire knowledge, competences or values

A teacher is a person who helps others to acquire knowledge, competences or values.



José Vianna da Motta was born on São Tomé Island, a Portuguese territory at the time where his father, also a great amateur musician, had opened a pharmacy. Moving with his family to Continental Portugal, he settled in Colares, near Sintra, where he soon showed his unusual skills in music, and in playing and composing works for the piano.

São Tomé Island island

São Tomé Island, at 854 km2 (330 sq mi), is the largest island of São Tomé and Príncipe and is home to about 157,000 or 96% of the nation's population. The island is divided into six districts. It is located 2 km north of the equator.

Continental Portugal

Continental Portugal or mainland Portugal are terms used for the bulk of the Portuguese Republic, namely that part on the Iberian Peninsula and so in Continental Europe; having approximately 95% of the total population and 96.6% of the country's land. Mainland Portugal is therefore commonly called by residents of the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira Portuguese: o continente – the continent in all respects including minor elements of combined governance from Lisbon, the country's capital. Before 1975, when the Portuguese territory also stretched to several now-independent states in Africa, the designation metropolis was also used.

Sintra Municipality in Lisbon, Portugal

Sintra is a city and municipality in the Greater Lisbon region of Portugal, located on the Portuguese Riviera. The population of the municipality in 2011 was 377,835, in an area of 319.23 square kilometres (123.26 sq mi). Sintra is a major tourist destination in Portugal, famed for its picturesqueness and for its numerous historic palaces and castles. Sintra is also a major luxury dining and tourism destination within the Portuguese Riviera, as well as one of the wealthiest municipalities in the country, and is known for the numerous notable events hosted in Sintra, such as Bilderberg Meetings and the Open de Portugal.

In Berlin he had lessons from Xaver Scharwenka and Philipp Scharwenka before studying with Franz Liszt at Weimar in 1885 and with Hans von Bülow two years later. In the following years he undertook many concert tours all round the world. Although he was renowned for his virtuosity he was also dedicated to the music of J. S. Bach and Beethoven - playing all of the latter's 32 piano sonatas in a series of concerts in Lisbon in 1927. He also included lesser known composers in his recitals, playing, for example, works by Charles-Valentin Alkan at the Wigmore Hall in London in 1903. [1] He also made a number of transcriptions of Alkan's pedalier pieces into two hand versions. [2]

Berlin Capital of Germany

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.

Franz Xaver Scharwenka was a German pianist, composer and teacher of Bohemian-Polish descent. He was the brother of Ludwig Philipp Scharwenka (1847–1917), who was also a composer and teacher of music.

Philipp Scharwenka German composer, editor and teacher

Ludwig Philipp Scharwenka was a German composer and teacher of music. He was the older brother of Xaver Scharwenka.

Vianna da Motta was also close to his fellow virtuoso Ferruccio Busoni, and wrote the programme notes for Busoni's major series of piano concerto concerts in Berlin. [3]

Ferruccio Busoni Italian composer, pianist, conductor, editor, writer, and piano teacher

Ferruccio Busoni was an Italian composer, pianist, conductor, editor, writer, and teacher. His international career and reputation led him to work closely with many of the leading musicians, artists and literary figures of his time, and he was a sought-after keyboard instructor and a teacher of composition.

Vianna da Motta was also a composer in his own right, including orchestral works (one of them a symphony) as well as piano pieces. On 25 October 1906, Motta recorded ten piano rolls for Welte-Mignon including three of his own compositions. He was Director of the Lisbon Conservatory from 1919 to 1938. Amongst his pupils there was the pianist Sequeira Costa.

Symphony extended musical composition

A symphony is an extended musical composition in Western classical music, most often written by composers for orchestra. Although the term has had many meanings from its origins in the ancient Greek era, by the late 18th century the word had taken on the meaning common today: a work usually consisting of multiple distinct sections or movements, often four, with the first movement in sonata form. Symphonies are almost always scored for an orchestra consisting of a string section, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments which altogether number about 30 to 100 musicians. Symphonies are notated in a musical score, which contains all the instrument parts. Orchestral musicians play from parts which contain just the notated music for their own instrument. Some symphonies also contain vocal parts.

Piano roll music storage medium used to operate a player piano, piano player or reproducing piano

A piano roll is a music storage medium used to operate a player piano, piano player or reproducing piano. A piano roll is a continuous roll of paper with perforations (holes) punched into it. The perforations represent note control data. The roll moves over a reading system known as a 'tracker bar' and the playing cycle for each musical note is triggered when a perforation crosses the bar and is read.

Welte-Mignon company

M. Welte & Sons, Freiburg and New York was a manufacturer of orchestrions, organs and reproducing pianos, established in Vöhrenbach by Michael Welte (1807–1880) in 1832.

He died in Lisbon in 1948, aged 80.


International Music Score Library Project project for the creation of a virtual library of public domain music scores

The International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP), also known as the Petrucci Music Library after publisher Ottaviano Petrucci, is a subscription-based project for the creation of a virtual library of public-domain music scores. Since its launch on February 16, 2006, over 370,000 scores and 42,000 recordings for over 110,000 works by over 14,000 composers have been uploaded. Based on the wiki principle, the project uses MediaWiki software. Since June 6, 2010, the IMSLP has also included public domain and licensed recordings in its scope, to allow for study by ear.



  1. MacRae (2001), 37-8
  2. Smith (2000),II 223, 228-9
  3. Hamilton (2008), 66

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