Novães, Guiomar, extraordinary Brazilian pianist; b. São João da Boa Vista, Feb. 28, 1895; d. São Paulo, March 7, 1979. She was the 17th of 19 offspring in a highly fecund family. She studied piano with Luigi Chiafarelli, and soon began performing in public recitals. The Brazilian government sent her to France to take part in a competition for entering the Paris Cons. She won first place among 389 contestants from a jury that included Debussy and Fauré, and Debussy praised her for “the power of total inner concentration, rare among artists” She enrolled in the class of Philipp, who later described her as a true “force of nature” She graduated from the Paris Cons, in 1911, and made a successful concert tour in France, England, and Italy. She made her U.S. debut at a N.Y. recital on Nov. 11, 1915, and subsequently made numerous tours of the U.S. Reviewing one of her concerts, James Huneker described her as “the Paderewska of the Pampas.” In 1922 she married Octavio Pinto. She made her home in São Paulo, with frequent sojourns in N.Y. In 1956 the Brazilian government awarded her the Order of Merit as a goodwill ambassador to the U.S. She made her last U.S. appearance in 1972. She was especially praised for her interpretations of the music of Chopin, Schumann, and other composers of the Romantic era; she also played pieces by South American composers, including some works written for her by her husband. Her playing was notable for its dynamic colors; she exuded a personal charm, while often disregarding the more pedantic aspects of the music.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire