Polish pianist and composer; born at Warsaw [Nov. 4, 1841; died at Leipsic July 17, 1871. He received his early musical education from his father, Aloys T. Tausig (1820-85), who was a pupil of Thalberg and a composer of brilliant pianoforte music. When Carl was fourteen years of age his father took him to Weimar to study under Liszt, whose favorite pupil he soon became. In 1858 he made his début in public at an orchestral concert conducted by Bülow at Berlin; and during the following two years he gave concerts in various German cities. After a sojourn at Dresden he went to Vienna (1862), where, however, his classical programs and his artistic views failed to find acceptance. He married in 1865 and settled in Berlin, where he opened a Schule des Höheren Klavierspiels, and occasionally gave pianoforte recitals. Shortly before his death he made several concert tours through Germany and Russia, and was everywhere received with enthusiasm.
Carl Tausig ranks with Liszt and Rubinstein as one of the three greatest pianists of the nineteenth century. He was one of the stanchest champions of the "music of the future," and a close personal friend of Richard Wagner. It was he who formulated a plan for raising 300,000 thaler for building the Bayreuth Theater, and who "with his exceptional endowment and splendid energy seemed to regard the execution of this plan as his own particular task "(Richard Wagner, "Gesammelte Schriften," ix. 385). An epitaph composed by Wagner (l.c. p. 386) was inscribed on Tausig's tombstone.
Of Tausig's original compositions and numerous arrangements of classical works the following may be mentioned: "Deux Etudes de Concert," replacing an earlier pianoforte transcription of his symphonic ballad "Das Geisterschiff"; "Ungarische Zigeunerweisen," a composition for pianoforte; [Nouvelles Soirées de Vienne"; "Tägliche Studien," finger exercises of high value; a selection of studies from Clementi's "Gradus ad Parnassum"; a transcription of Bach's "Toccata und Fuge für die Orgel in D moll"; and adaptations of Wéber's "Aufforderung zum Tanz,"of six Beethoven quartets, and of Wagner's "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg."
- Musikalisches Wochenblatt, ii. 488-490, Leipsic, 1871;
- Grove, Dictionary of Music and Musicians;
- Richard Wagner, Gesammelte Schriften, ix. 385, 386;
- Baker, Biographical Dictionary of Music;
- Kohut, Berühmte Israelitische Männer und Frauen.