Public Figure Profiles

Grete Sultan

Grete Sultan (June 21, 1906 – June 26, 2005) was a German-American pianist.

Born in Berlin into a musical Jewish family, she studied piano from an early age with American pianist Richard Buhlig, and later with Leonid Kreutzer and Edwin Fischer. In 1933, after the nazis came to power in Germany, she was, as all Jews were, banned from playing in public and could only appear in concerts of the "Jüdischer Kulturbund" (Jewish Culture Association).

With Buhlig's help, Sultan fled Germany in 1941 via Lisbon, from where she emigrated to the United States by ship. She settled in New York City and took up piano teaching, first at Vassar College and the 92nd Street Y, then at the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York. In the mid-1940s, she met the composer John Cage and became good friends with him, and it was through Sultan that Cage met one of her students, Christian Wolff, who gave Cage his first copy of the I Ching—a book that shaped Cage's composition methods during the subsequent decades.

Cage dedicated two pieces to Sultan. The first was part of his Music for Piano series, Music for Piano 53–68. In 1974, when Sultan was in the process of learning Cage's Music of Changes, the composer offered to write some new music for her, and the result was a monumental piano cycle, Etudes Australes. Sultan made the premiere recording of the work and played it in concerts worldwide. She also performed the music of Alan Hovhaness and Tui St. George Tucker, but contemporary composers were not the only ones that interested her: in the 1940s she helped popularize Bach's Goldberg Variations, and her concert programs included music from Beethoven, Chopin, and Schubert to Stravinsky, Earle Brown and Morton Feldman.

Grete Sultan gave her last recital in 1996, aged 90, at New York's Merkin Concert Hall, performing Bach's Goldberg Variations. She died in a Manhattan hospital five days after her 99th birthday. In spring 2012, Schott Music, Germany, published the first biography on Grete Sultan, titled "Rebellische Pianistin. Das Leben der Grete Sultan zwischen Berlin und New York", written by Hamburg-based author Moritz von Bredow.

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Some of their strengths

Grete Sultan has many admirable traits.

Based on spiritual traditions from around the world, they are someone who can be described as Intelligent, Energetic, Charming, Passionate, Communicative, Intuitive, and Innovative.

Charming and Quick-witted

According to Mysticism’s Astrology tradition, Grete Sultan is someone who is a charming, quick-witted, and energetic person who combines passion and intelligence with an ability to feel what others are feeling and to effectively communicate with them. A person who seems to identify with family, heritage and ancestry.

Passionate and Intense

Based on Daoism’s Ba-Zi or ‘Chinese Zodiac’ tradition, people who know Grete Sultan well know them as someone who can be passionate, proud, and intense, like the sun or a blazing fire.

Altruistic and Innovative

According to Hinduism’s Jyotisha or ‘Vedic Astrology’ tradition, many would also describe Grete Sultan as someone who is altruistic, inventive, energetic, and socially-conscious.

Who is inventive, open-minded and inquisitive, optimistic and cooperative, and who loves working together with others.

Exacting and Achievement-oriented

Based on the Mayan Tzolk’in or ‘Mayan Astrology’ tradition, Grete Sultan is someone who has very high expectations for people, and who can be extremely focused on achieving goals and objectives.

They are also someone who is altruistic, tolerant, and sophisticated, and who tends to be a perfectionist who is always working to try and make everything and everyone better.

Logical and Reasonable

According to Judaism’s Kabbalah tradition, Grete Sultan tends to be someone who is understanding, logical, and reasonable. Who can be intellectual and intuitive, speak the truth at any cost, be witty and sociable, and live life to its fullest.

Some of Grete Sultan's challenges

While Grete Sultan has many strengths, nobody is perfect. They also have some challenging traits they need to manage.

For example, Grete Sultan can be Hypocritical, Pleasure-seeking, Self-centered, Indecisive, Unrealistic, Anxious, and Inflexible.

Hypocritical and Self-centered

One of Grete Sultan's key challenges is that they are someone who can be perceived as hypocritical and self-centered.

Grete Sultan must also exercise caution as they can be short-tempered and aggressive.

Anxious and Inflexible

Grete Sultan is someone who can be high-strung, impatient, and inflexible, who can be "penny wise and pound foolish", have poor listening skills, and who can be intolerant of people who share a different world view.

Indecisive and Distracted

Finally, Grete Sultan also can have a hard time staying focused and can easily become restless.

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