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Austrian pianist, latterly one-armed.

Career Summary

Paul Wittgenstein was the son of Karl Wittgenstein and Leopoldine (Poldi) Wittgenstein, and older brother of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. A pupil of Leschetizky and Labor, Wittgenstein made his public debut in 1913 in Vienna. During World War I he fought on the eastern front, where he lost his right arm; he was prisoner of war in Siberia, and was repatriated in 1916. Thereafter he built a career as a left-handed pianist. He commissioned works from, among others, Richard Strauss, Ravel, and Prokofiev, of most of which he gave world premieres. He settled in New York in 1938.

Wittgenstein and Schenker

The Wittgenstein family had a large collection of musical manuscripts, particularly many by Brahms, but including also J. S. Bach and Beethoven, and it was in connection with the autograph manuscript of Beethoven's Piano Sonata in E major, Op. 109 that Schenker seems first to have come into contact with him on November 12, 1912 (OJ 1/11, p. 277).

Correspondence with Schenker

Correspondence between Schenker and Paul Wittgenstein is preserved as OJ 15/24 (1913: 4 items).


  • OeML Online
  • various websites
  • Monk, Ray, Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius (New York: Penguin Books, 1991)
  • Waugh, Alexander, The House of Wittgenstein: A Family at War (London: Bloomsbury, 2008)

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