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Zimmermann, Agnes (Marie Jacobina)locked

  • Sophie Fuller

(b Cologne, July 5, 1847; d London, Nov 14, 1925). English pianist and composer of German birth. Her family moved to England when she was a young child. From 1857 to 1864 she attended the RAM, studying the piano with Cipriani Potter and Ernst Pauer, and composition with Charles Steggall and George Macfarren (who later wrote his third piano sonata for her); she won the King’s Scholarship in 1860 and again in 1862. She made her professional début in 1863 at the Crystal Palace, where she performed two movements of Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ Concerto. In 1865 she gave the first of a long-running series of recitals and chamber concerts at the Hanover Square Rooms, continued from 1875 at St James’s Hall. Zimmermann was praised for her clarity and control, and was regarded as one of the country’s leading pianists. She performed regularly at the Popular Concerts in London and accompanied Joachim (the dedicatee of her first violin sonata), Neruda and Alfredo Piatti; she also made several tours of Germany.

Zimmermann’s own compositions are rooted in Classical forms; her piano pieces and chamber music were widely played during her lifetime, though her songs and other vocal works were less highly regarded. She also edited the sonatas of Mozart and Beethoven and the piano works of Schumann.


selective list; some MSS at GB-Lam


Sonata, vn, pf, d, op.16 (1868)

sonata, vc, pf, g, op.17 (1872)

suite, vn, vc, pf, d, op.19 (1873)

sonata, vn, pf, a, op.21 (1876)

sonata, vn, pf, g, op.23 (1897)

str qt, E♭; qnt, fl, ob, cl, bn, pf, E♭; pf trio, A; pf qt, c

Pf solo

Bolero, op.2; Barcarolle, op.8; Mazurka, op.11 (1869)

Marche, op.13 (1869)

Gavotte, op.14 (c1870)

Presto alla tarantella, op.15 (c1869)

Gavotte, op.20 (c1873)

Suite, op.22 (1878)

Bourée, op.24 (1883)

Sonata, g; others


solo songs; duets; partsongs, 4vv; Benediction Service (1901)


  • FétisB; Grove1 (G. Grove)
  • A. De Ternant: ‘Short Sketches of Contemporary Women Composers: Agnes Zimmermann’, The Englishwoman’s Review, 18 (1887), 17–18
  • Obituary. MT, 66 (1925), 1136;
  • Obituary. The Times (17 Nov 1925)
  • Lady Arbuthnot: ‘In Memoriam Agnes Zimmermann: Pianist and Composer, 1847–1925’, MT, 67 (1926), 28–9
  • S. Fuller: The Pandora Guide to Women Composers: Britain and the United States, 1629–Present (London, 1994), 345–7
F.-J. Fétis: Biographie universelle des musiciens
G. Grove, ed.: A Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1878, 1880, 1883, 1899)
Musical Times