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Typically for many musicians of his day, Brahms was artistically active in multiple ways, not only as a composer but also as a performer, mainly as a pianist and conductor, piano teacher and director of musical societies. He never perceived himself as primarily a pianist; however, playing the piano – in private and public – was inseparable from his artistic and compositional identity. Schumann remarked on this as early as 9 November 1853 in a letter to the Leipzig publishers Breitkopf & Härtel, to whom he had recommended the young man: ‘his playing is truly a part of his music; I cannot recall hearing such unique sound effects’. Brahms received his initial piano training in Hamburg from Otto Friedrich Willibald Cossel and then from Cossel’s teacher Eduard Marxsen, who had trained in Vienna and who also advised Brahms in composition (Brahms never attended a conservatory) [see Ch. 1 ‘Childhood in Hamburg’].