Albert Zabel was born in Berlin in 1834. Through a scholarship obtained for him by Meyerbeer he studied at the Berlin Institut für Kirchenmusik where his harp teacher was Louis Grimm. From the age of eleven he toured for three years with Gungl’s band, travelling to Russia, England and the USA. At fourteen he was appointed solo harpist to the Berlin Opera and in 1855 he moved to St Petersburg to become solo harpist with the Imperial Ballet, remaining there for the rest of his life. In 1862 Anton Rubinstein founded the St Petersburg Conservatory and appointed Zabel as teacher of the harp. He became professor in 1879 and, subsequently, honorary distinguished professor in 1904. He died in 1910 in St Petersburg. The Valse caprice
, one of his very last pieces, published in the year of his death, was dedicated to his wife, Eugénie.
from notes by Susan Drake © 1989