Documenting Teresa Carreño

Irving Hall (November 7, 1862)


On Friday, November 7, 1862, Lafayette F. Harrison organized a private concert in Irving Hall, in which Carreño appeared with Theodore Thomas as the assisting artist. At this concert, she performed the following works: Souvenir d'Il Trovatore de Verdi, op. 79 (Goria, Alexandre Édouard), Grand Fantaisie et Variations sur "Norma," op. 12 (Thalberg, Sigismond), Caprice sur "Ernani," op. 31 (Prudent, Émile), Le Bananier (Gottschalk, Louis M.), and Gottschalk Waltz (Carreño, Teresa).


AnnouncementFrank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, 8 November 1862.

ReviewNew York Times, 10 November 1862, 5. 

ReviewLa América, 15 November 1862.

ArticleMusical Review and Musical World, 22 November 1862, 279.

ReviewSacramento Daily Union, 9 December 1862, 3.


Kijas, Anna


Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, November 8, 1862.

Has anybody heard of Teresa Carreno? No? Then everybody is behind the age, and we will enlighten the general ignorance. Teresa Carreno is a little bit of a dark-eyed beautiful darling South American child, only eight years old, half-a-dozen hands high, fond of doll-babies and miscellaneous romping, but with a musical genius which is at once a point of wonder and admiration. She is a pianist with little fingers but large brains, too short, when seated, to reach the pedals with her feet, but tall enough, intellectually, to reach the sentiment and soul of music. Infant prodigies are rare--Heaven be praised!--although every infant is a prodigy to its mother, and even the few which are acknowledged simply evince an aptitude for imitation, which is a facility rather than a talent, and promises but very little for the future. But the dark-eyed little darling, Teresa Carreno, from Carracas [sic], is no instructed parrot, but a thinking, feeling artist, who while she elicits astonishment by her executive power, raises astonishment to a higher pitch by the maturity of her style, by a pervading judgment, by her appreciation of light and shade, proportion and the nicer grades of relative musical values, and lastly, by a sentiment and expression which has come to her, Heaven only knows how. She is so mere a child, so neccessarily [sic] ignorant of all that constitutes an artist, that we listen and wonder, and even while we gaze upon the beautiful childish face, we doubt the evidence of our senses. She is a genius of the purest stamp, a pearl of price, to be treasured and fostered to a development of the god-like powers with which Nature has so richly endowed her. This is Teresa Carreno, the child pianist.

New York Times, November 10, 1862.

One of the penalties of living in a metropolis is the inevitable endurance of prodigies. Children with big bumpy heads, extraordinary hands, wonderful throats and precocious intelligences, descend as in showers upon the afflicted community, and, but for the merciful dispensation that they grow up in time, and become no better than other people, make life a constant trial of parental patience and critical toleration... We refer to Teresa Carreno, who gave a "Soirée Musicale" at Irving Hall, on Friday last. This little lady is a native of Caracas, Venezuela, and is only eight years of age. Her appearance indicates a charming but not overwrought warmth of temperament, and a calm intellectual perception of what she has to do and how to do it. These traits, apart from any mechanical considerations, give to the girl's playing a large share of spirit and clearness, amounting almost to style. For the rest she can play Thalberg's music with facility, and with extraordinary power for a child who cannot yet reach the pedals with her toes. This implies a high degree of digital discipline, and indicates that in more showy pieces, where the effects are of the scale rather than the chord, she will possess still higher executive powers. Indeed, a little French theme, imbedded in fragrant garlands of many colored notes, which Miss Carreno played, during the evening, could hardly have been given better by any performer now before the public. The execution was perfect whilst the feeling for the melody was always nicely preserved. Miss Carreno is undoubtedly a singularly gifted child, but on the threshold of a public career at so early an age, the greatest apprehensions are to be entertained for her future. So much genius should be devoted to study, and spared to art, not dissipated in the idle adulations of friends and the well-intentioned but seldom well-considered applause of the public.

La América, November 15, 1862.

La niña pianista Teresita Carreño. El viernes de la última semana recibimos una atenta invitacion para concurrir a un concierto privado que se daba en Irving Hall, para presentar á los profesores y diletantes de Nueva York la niña pianista Teresita Carreño. A pesar de la inclemencía del tiempo la concurrencia fue numerosa y compuesta en su mayor parte, de profundos conocedores del divino arte.

El programa consistia de las piezas siguientes:

Souvenir de Trovatore, por Goria; Gran Fantasia de Norma, por Thalberg; Capricho, sobre Ernani, por Prudent, y Un Waltz, por Teresita Carreño, dedicado á Gottschalk.

En la interpretacion de estas composiciones manifestó Teresita una inteligencia que rayaba en inspiracion, haciéndonos recordar de cuanto se ha escrito de los primeros años de Mozart y de otros artistas de no menos celebridad, cuyo ingenio se demostró desde su mas tierna edad. La ejecucion de Teresita es limpia y rápida, recorriendo el teclado del piano, que apenas puede alcanzar de extremo á extremo, con suma precision y maestria, sin desatender la acentuacion y énfasis necesarios.

En una de las veces en que el auditorio electrizado de placer y admiracion, la llamó á la conclusion de la dificilisima Fantasía de Norma, por Thalberg, tocó Teresita la lindisima composicion de Gottschalk, El Banannier, recibiendo estrepitosos aplausos en justo premio por lo bien que ejecutó quella inspiracion criolla del gran pianista lusianés, á quien la jóven la pianista empieza á copiar con admirable perfeccion.

No diremos, couducidos [sic] por nuestro entusiasmo, que Teresita Careño [sic] sea ya una artista consumada, porque no se puede esperar tal prodigio á una edad tan tierna como la de esta niña, que solo cuenta ocho años; pero debemos confesar á fuer de justos, que su talento músico es de una extremada magnitud: que comprende la divinidad del arte y conoce que es el lenguaje del corazon, pudiendo conmover á su antojo al auditorio haciéndole experimientar deliciosas y diversas sensaciones.--En la música como dote natural, Teresita está ya formada; en lo demas es una niña con todos los atractivos de la edad pueril.

Por lo que toca á los estudios de esta niña puede decirse que han sido muy limitados. Nacida en Carácas, Venezuela, ha tenido muy pocas ocasiones de oir grandes maestros en el arte, y tuvo que limitarse á las lecciones que recibió de su padre durante los últimos dos años; pudiendo decirse que desde que aprendió á leer la música no ha tenido mas guia que la de su ardiente imaginacion. Hoy admiramos á esta niña no tanto por lo que es, sino por lo que podrá ser dentro de pocos años, guiándola con tacto y prudencia en sus estudios, no tan solamente estudios en la música sino en los demas necesarios para la formacion del artista.

Musical Review and Musical World, November 22, 1862.

Musical Prodigies.

A little girl, eight years old, of the name of Teresa Carreno, has been performing lately in private circles, and received approbation from critics and amateurs. To judge from the fact that her picture (of course with the Pianoforte) is displayed in the lobby of the Academy of Music, and in other places, we suppose she will soon appear in public. We consider this a very cruel proceeding. Why not leave the poor child to the quiet continuation of her studies, especially as there seems no pecuniary necessity for her appearance in concerts? What possible benefit can she reap from this, and what positive harm is she sure to encounter! Supposing she is not the genius, her friends and relatives hope her to be, this early reception of flattery which is attending upon concertying by so-called wondrous children, will certainly stay the progress of her studies, will poison her mind, and will never enable her, to grasp the artistic responsibilities of her profession. No doubt, considering her age, she has a remarkable technical ability, but this does not constitute genius. It may possibly be great talent, it is but rarely genius. Unfortunately there is one instance in the history of our art, which is made the excuse by every loving parent, to bring forward his and her offspring at their earliest age and opportunity. Because Mozart traveled about and performed in public, when only seven years old, every apparently uncommon ability on the part of a child must be made the cause of continuous appeals to public sympathy, and, what amounts in most instances to the same thing, to public charity. Because, very nearly hundred years ago, at a time when the immense development of musical culture, which since has taken place, could scarcely be called dawning upon the people of Europe, a little boy, of the name of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, astonished the world by his extraordinary musical knowledge on the Pianoforte as a pianist as well as in composition--in our days even an idiotic negro boy is allowed to figure in respectable journals as the hero of fantastic musical tales, and is not only proclaimed to be a rival of Mozart, but also one who even surpasses him. To judge from one of the inspirations of this negro boy, called Oliver Gallop, which lies just now before us, we readily admit that his ability does not only beat Mozart's, but anything we ever saw and heard.

Sacramento Daily Union, December 9, 1862.

(Amusements.) A private concert was lately given at Irving Hall, for the introduction of Mdlle. Teresa Carreno, a child-pianist only eight years of age. Mdlle. C. is a native of Venezuela, South America, and most prepossessing both in manners and appearance. She is very lively and quite childlike, and received her visitors with perfect ease and graciousness. She took her seat at a grand pianoforte, having a raised platform for her feet to rest upon, with two rods through it communicating with the pedals. She first played a piece of her own composition, a nocturne, a very charming morceau as regards melody and construction. It was performed without any effort, great expression, and with astonishing power and rapidity.




“Irving Hall (November 7, 1862),” Documenting Teresa Carreño, accessed February 24, 2024,

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