Below you can find selected events from Elisabeth Klein’s life and career. Performances and reviews have been chosen from a large amount of material in her scrap books. (Not available on mobile devices)

Selected Events in the Life of Elisabeth Klein

EK is born in Trencin

July 23, 1911

EK moves to Budapest with her family.


Graduation from the Franz Liszt Academy. At the graduation concert EK performed works by Bach-Busoni, Beethoven (Appassionata sonata), Schumann, Debussy, and Liszt, as well as Bartók’s Suite Op. 14.

April 7, 1934

Attends private piano lessons with Bela Bartok


Arrival in Denmark. Jobs at various restaurants and hotels as piano entertainer (playing popular classical music, Liszt, Chopin and the like).

February 1939

EK marries Jørgen Petersen

December 21, 1941

EK gives birth to her first son, Ole Holger

March 3, 1943

Début concert in Copenhagen. In one review (19 December 1945, Berlingske Tidende), the reviewer (E. Abr.) writes, “At this unusually promising debut concert one heard, among other things, Elisabeth Klein’s very beautiful interpretation of Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata. With a highly developed technique and her full-bodied touch, the pianist gave this famous sonata what it requires with regard to its performance.”

December 18, 1945

EK gives birth to her second son, Nils Holger

April 27, 1946

Working as third conductor for Den Jyske Opera (Danish National Opera) and for The Royal Danish Opera, Copenhagen.


EK settles with her family in Oslo for a year and a half. In this period she teaches and gives concerts around.

March 1956

EK settles with her family in Kiel, Germany for almost two years. She gives concerts around.

October 1957

EK resumes her career as a concert pianist and piano teacher in Copenhagen.

September 1959

EK gives Pierre Boulez’ Second Piano Sonata its first performance in Denmark at a concert where she played the sonata twice. In between the two performances, the music historian (and composer) Sven Erik Werner gave a talk about the sonata and its background.

September 12, 1965

EK gives the first performance of Ib Nørholm’s Strofer og marker (Stanzas and Fields), dedicated to her, in a concert at the assembly hall of the Danish National Museum containing mainly new Danish piano music framed by Webern’s Variations Op. 27 and Hans Werner Henze’s Variations Op. 13.

February 27, 1966

A performance of Ib Nørholm’s Strofer og marker in Tivoli’s concert hall in an otherwise traditional programme context (Scarlatti, Beethoven, Bartók, Chopin and Liszt) leads to demonstrative applause during one of the movements. As reported by Danish music historian and music critic Poul Nielsen, the clapping demonstration “did not manage to carry through because Elisabeth Klein was too unshakable. Unaffected, she continued the performance to the delight of those who are able to hear the values of Nørholm’s Strofer og marker opus 33”. Berlingske Tidende, 19 July 1966:

July 18, 1966

Concert tour in Israel where she played traditional classical works but mainly new Danish piano music (Henning Christiansen, Axel Borup Jørgensen, Ib Nørholm, Per Nørgård, and Nils Holger Petersen) as well as Boulez’ Second Sonata at several concerts. For the Jerusalem Post critic, Benjamin Bar-Am “Miss Klein is extremely dedicated to this music, and her performance was efficient, concentrated and musically sound. Especially exciting was her performance of Pierre Boulez’s second Piano Sonata, a piece of devilish difficulty, heard here for the first time. It is a tremendous challenge for a pianist and Miss Klein tackled the stupendous difficulties of the 32-minute-long piece with astonishing ease” (Review of concert in Tel Aviv on 8 November).

November 8-15, 1966

EK gives the first Danish performance of Jean Barraqué’s Sonata for Piano (1952) at a concert at the Royal Danish Music Academy. According to the renown music scholar Paul Griffiths, this performance was, in fact, a world premiere! See The Sea on Fire: Jean Barraqué. Rochester NY, Rochester University Press, 2003, p.47

April 24, 1967

EK gives the first performance of Per Nørgård’s Grooving, dedicated to Per Nørgård, composed for Elisabeth Klein, 1967–68) at Louisiana Art Museum, in a concert with another first performance (Nils Holger Petersen’s Bufast, dedicated to EK, 1967) and Bartók’s Out of Doors (1926).

April 6, 1968

Second concert tour in Israel featuring especially performances of Per Nørgård’s piano works and Jean Barraqué’s Sonata for piano.

October 16-19, 1968

Performing the piano solo part in Pierre Boulez’ Éclat (1965) with the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Tamás Vetö.

November 21, 1968

The LP Per Nørgård Piano Works 53 – 68, played by Elisabeth Klein is released by the music publishing house Wilhelm Hansen. Beside various reviews in newspapers, the recording and Per Nørgård’s piano music is discussed in a feature article by the music critic Poul Nielsen: “It is an LP of great value that Elisabeth Klein has recorded. […] What she does is what many more Danish pianists ought to do. She has engaged with the composers’ new requirements and thereby not only developed herself artistically but also made a considerable effort to reach out. […] One must admire the accuracy with which Elisabeth Klein renders Nørgård’s scores” (Berlingske Tidende 27 April 1969).

Spring, 1969

EK performs Per Nørgård’s Grooving on Danish National TV, visually staged by the composer.

November 17, 1970

EK performs Nørholm’s Strofer og marker (Stanzas and Fields) on Danish National TV.

October 12, 1971

EK at the University of Colorado for its annual Festival of Contemporary Music together with Arne Nordheim, giving lectures and performing new Scandinavian music (Ib Nørholm, Per Nørgård, Bjørn Fongaard, Alfred Jansson, and also Poul Ruders’ Dante Sonata, dedicated to EK, 1970, which she had given its first performance in Denmark in January 1971). The main event, however, was Arne Nordheim’s Listen, dedicated to EK, 1971, and given its world premiere here, soon thereafter to be recorded, performed in Norwegian Radio and Television and at numerous concerts.

Novermber 1-5, 1971

EK performs Scandinavian new piano music at concerts in London and Cambridge.

January 21-22, 1972

EK performs new Norwegian music in Håkonshallen at the Bergen Festival.

June 3, 1972

EK gives the first performance of Per Nørgård’s Turn and the first performance of Svend Aauquist Johansen’s For to klaverer (For Two Pianos) together with the composer at a concert in DUT (Det Unge Tonekunsterselskab, The Society for Young Composers).

April 19, 1974

EK gives two solo recitals in Vienna, a.o. at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna with music by Norwegian composers as well as George Crumb and Béla Bartók.

October 15, 1975

Three concerts in Wales and Scotland with music by Charles Ives, Bartók, Schoenberg, Crumb, Arne Nordheim and Per Nørgård.

October 18-22, 1976

EK solo recital at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem with Scandinavian new music and George Crumb’s Makrokosmos II. During this third visit to Israel, EK also gave lectures and made radio recordings.

Novermber 2, 1977

Lecture-recitals at English Universities, e.g. King’s College, London, with music by Ives, LeFanu and Strømholm.

October 17-18, 1978

Tel Aviv, Ruth Gordon-Friedman Concert Hall, recital with classical and modern music, including Bent Lorentzen’s Colori, (premiered by EK on 10 December 1978 at Louisiana Art Museum).

February 22, 1979

At Funkhaus, Hannover, West Germany, performing George Crumb’s Makrokosmos II, broadcast in television (Norddeutscher Rundfunk; The North German Radio Station) on 1 March.

February 1, 1980

Recital with works by Scandinavian women composers at Washington Square Church, New York, as part of the First National Congress on Women in Music, 26 – 29 March, 1981. During the congress, she also participated in a panel on contemporary Danish women composers with composers Birgitte Alsted, Diana Pereira and Anne Kirstine Nielsen from the Danish National Radio.

March 28, 1981

Recital at Bergen Festival with violinist Isaac Shuldman (with whom she performed several times, also in Denmark) including works by Schoenberg, Stockhausen, and Bartók.

May 27, 1981

Recital with works by Scandinavian women composers, including Synne Skouen, Maj Sønstevold, Kerstin Jeppson, Diana Pereira and Gudrun Lund at the 2nd International Congress on Women in Music, 1–4 April 1982, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA.

April 2, 1982

Piano recital at Sala Manuel M. Ponce in Mexico City with music by Scandinavian women composers, including Birgitte Alsted, Synne Skouen, Carin Malmlöf-Forssling and others. Part of the Third International Congress on Women in Music, March 1984.

March 24, 1984

Piano recital at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, with music by Scandinavian women composers, including Birgitte Alsted (Denmark) and Åse Hedstrøm (Norway). Part of the 4ème Congrès International Femmes et Musique.

October 28, 1984

EK receives award from International Congress on Women in Music, presented by Jeannie Pool, director of the Congress “with our sincerest thanks and gratitude and in recognition of your outstanding contributions to improving the status of women composers” (The International Congress on Women in music Newsletter, vol. 11, double issue, nos. 2&3).

December 1984

Recital with music by Scandinavian women composers, including Christina Wagner-Smitt, Ruth Bakke, Maj Sønstevold, Gudrun Lund and Åse Hedstrøm. At the Fifth International Congress on Women in Music, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 20–22 March 1986.

March 21, 1986

Recital at the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, Finland, in connection with the Eighth European Conference of EPTA Associations, 7–10 August 1986. Bartók and modern Nordic music.

August 8, 1986

Concert at the Henie-Onstad Art Centre near Oslo on the occasion of George Crumb visiting Oslo. A concert with Elisabeth Klein and Einar Steen Nøkleberg performing music by George Crumb, each performing solo pieces, and together Crumb’s Celestial Mechanics: Makrokosmos IV for amplified piano four hands (1979). Crumb attended the concert, giving comments on his music.

October 5, 1986

19 and 23 October 1986, recitals with Scandinavian, and English new music and George Crumb in the Danish Cultural Institute, Edinburgh, and Bretton Hall School of Music, Yorkshire.

October 19 and 23, 1986

Recital, lecture and workshop, Northern College of Music, Aberdeen, Scotland. Bartók, George Crumb, Karlheinz Stockhausen and new Scandinavian and English music.

March 14, 1990

Recital at International Congress on Women in Music, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, with new Nordic music by women composers, including also Idelandic Karolina Eiriksdottir, Danish Birgitte Alsted, Norwegian Åse Hedstrøm, Synne Skouen, and Ruth Bakke.

April 5, 1991

80 years birthday concert for and with EK and friends at the Royal Danish Conservatory, Copenhagen. Music by Bernd Alois Zimmerman, Boulez, Stockhausen, and George Crumb.

September 29, 1991

Lecture-recital in Helsinki

August 2, 1994

Recital at the NGO Forum on Women, Long Shan Auditorium, Beijing, China, with new Scandinavian music by women composers, including a.o. Kristin Holm and Ruth Bakke (Norway), Gudrun Lund (Denmark), Kerstin Jeppsson (Sweden).

September 2, 1995

Recital at the Danish State Radio, performing Pierre Boulez’ three piano sonatas. The concert was repeated on 11 October at the Grieg Academy, Bergen, where she also, on 10 October, gave a lecture at the academy about the Boulez sonatas.

October 8, 1995

Two Boulez concerts in Bergen, Norway

October 10-12, 1995

Stockhausen recital at the National Gallery in Oslo (where Elisabeth Klein for many years played concerts regularly) on the occasion of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s 70 years birthday.

August 22, 1998

90th Birthday Concert in Liverpool

July 23, 2001

Liverpool School of Music, University Theatre, Rathbone Building. Boulez’ second and third piano sonatas.

March 3, 2004

EK’s last concert performance in a concert in the Catholic Cathedral of Liverpool on the occasion of Hungary’s admission to the EU, playing piano music by Liszt (late pieces) and Bartók.

May 15, 2004

Elisabeth Klein dies in Liverpool at the age of 93.

October 11, 2004