Pleyel-Moke, Marie Félicité

BORN 4 Jul 1811, Paris - DIED 30 Mar 1875, Saint-Josse-Ten-Noode, Brussel
BIRTH NAME Moke, Marie Félicité Denise
GRAVE LOCATION Brussel: Begraafplaats Laken (Perk 06A, weg 12/17, concessie 851)

Marie Pleyel was born as Marie Félicité Denise Moke. Her father Jean Jaques Moke (1777-1858) was a Belgian language teacher and her German mother Maria Magdalena Segnitz (1799-1844) owned a lingerie boutique in Paris. Her mother taught her to play the piano and after her talent was recognized she was taught by Jacques Herz, Friedrich Kalkbrenner and Ignaz Moscheles. She appeared in Paris when she was eight years old and debuted at the Theatre Royal de la Monnaie in 1825 where her performance of works by her teacher Kalkbrenner made her famous.

She became engaged to Hector Berlioz before he went to the Villa Médicis in Rome but when he was there he received a letter from her mother that she was to marry Camille Pleyel, the son of piano manufacturer Ignace Joseph Pleyel. They married in 1831 and had a son (Ignace Henry, 1832-1853), but her husband was 23 years her senior and Marie had affairs with other men. In 1835 she spent a night with Franz Liszt in Chopin's apartment when Chopin was out of Paris. Camille Pleyel separated from her because of her infidelities on 29 July 1836. On 5 October of that year she gave birth to a daughter of an unknown father in Hamburg. Some sources state that Camilla Louise was her daughter by Pleyel born in 1833 and that the daughter born in 1836 was a second daughter, named Marie Moke and that she died of tuberculosis in 1869. Other sources state that she had only one daughter, born in 1836, who died in 1856.

In 1839 she performed with Liszt in Vienna and he praised her talent. In Leipzig she played with Félix Mendelssohn and she was also successful in Russia, England and France. In Russia she met the pianist Sigismund Thalberg and he was an important influence to her. In 1841 she relocated to Belgium where her father still lived. She retired for considerable time to study. In 1845 she appeared in Paris for the first time in ten years for two recitals and in the same year she also performed at the Beethoven Festival in Bonn that was organised by Franz Liszt and attended by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She also appeared with Liszt himself in Cologne. In 1846 she appeared in England and performed in Dublin as well.

In 1848 she became a professor at the Conservatory in Brussels where she taught the ladies class. She held this position for 23 years. Liszt considered her to be the very best teacher and many of her students did well. She also continued her own performances and between 1846 and 1855 she visited London four times. In 1851 she met Clara Schumann who saw her as a rival and was suprprised by her amiability. During a concert in 1855 in Paris she performed in a duo concert with her daughter Louise, but Louise unexpectedly died in January 1856. During the 1860s she performed less often and in 1872 she gave up her professorship because her health started to fail. She died in 1875 in Brussels.

• Husband: Pleyel, Camille (1831-1836) (divorce or separation)

Related persons
• was engaged to Berlioz, Hector
• was a friend of Hiller, Ferdinand
• was pupil to Kalkbrenner, Friedrich Wilhelm
• cooperated with Liszt, Franz
• was the lover of Liszt, Franz
• cooperated with Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix
• met Nerval, Gérard de
• met Schumann, Robert
• was influenced by Thalberg, Sigismund
• met Wieck, Friedrich

0/0/1835Franz Liszt and Marie Pleyel spend the night together in Chopin's apartment in Paris. It was early in 1835. Pleyel was married but she was known to have affairs. The event ended the friendschip between Liszt and Chopin. Late in the spring Liszt moved to Genova and they rarely met afterwards. [Chopin, Frédéric][Liszt, Franz]
13/8/1845Marie Pleyel performs at the Beethoven memorial festival in Bonn. She had been invited by Franz Liszt, who was the organiser of the event. She performed Weber's "Konzertstück" at the final concert of the concert at which the royal gfamily was present. [Liszt, Franz]
19/7/1857Franz Liszt visits Marie Félicité Pleyel-Moke in Brussels. He knew her from Paris and she was at that time a teacher at the Conservatory in Brussels. [Liszt, Franz]
9/3/1874Marie Pleyel gives a concert at the Grande-Harmonie in Brussels. It was for a good cause and included 70 musicians and a choir of 250 singers. 


The grave of Marie Pleyel at the Cimetière de Laecken, Brussels.
Picture by Androom (28 Apr 2007)


The grave of Marie Pleyel at the Cimetière de Laecken, Brussels.
Picture by Androom (28 Apr 2007)


Cimetière de Laeken — Wikipédia
Marie Moke-Pleyel
Rondo Parisien | Parisian Fields
Pleyel, Marie - Sophie Drinker Institut

Ploetz, Alfred

Published: 14 Jul 2012
Last update: 19 May 2022