Bachauer, Gina (1913–1976)

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Bachauer, Gina (1913–1976)

Greek pianist who gave hundreds of performances for the Allied troops during World War II. Born in Athens, Greece, on May 21, 1913; died of a heart attack in Athens on August 22, 1976; daughter of an Austrian father and Italian mother; married second husband Alec Sherman (a conductor).

Gina Bachauer began serious piano instruction at age five, studying in Athens and then in Paris with Alfred Cortot. When she was 20, her infectious Romanticism earned her the Medal of Honor at the 1933 Vienna international competition. Bachauer's concerto debut took place in Athens in 1935 with the brilliant Dmitri Mitropoulos conducting, and, in 1937, she repeated that triumph in Paris under the baton of Pierre Monteux. During the second World War, she lived in Alexandria, Egypt, and showed her solidarity with the Allied cause by giving hundreds of performances for soldiers throughout the Middle East. Her 1946 London debut was with the conductor Alec Sherman, who became her second husband. Though Bachauer's New York recital debut in October 1950 was poorly attended, the major critics unanimously praised her bravura performance. Projecting a muscular and Romantic pianism, she was linked in the minds of some veteran concert-goers to the blood-and-thunder tradition established generations earlier by Teresa Carreño (1853–1917). Bachauer's profound enthusiasm for the virtuoso warhorse concertos of Liszt, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff was obvious from the first note of all her performances and recordings. The extraordinary range of her interests is evident in her huge repertoire, which included the major works of Mozart down through the spiky modernists like Igor Stravinsky. Bachauer died suddenly of a heart attack in her native Athens on August 22, 1976. The important Gina Bachauer International Competition, held in Salt Lake City, Utah, is dedicated to her memory. On the fifth anniversary of her death, in 1981, Greece issued a special commemorative postage stamp in her honor.


"Miss Gina Bachauer," in The Times [London]. August 24, 1976, p. 12.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia