Haskil, Clara (1895–1960)

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Haskil, Clara (1895–1960)

Rumanian pianist known for her recordings with some of the 20th century's best instrumentalists. Born in Bucharest, Rumania, on January 7, 1895; died in Brussels, Belgium, on December 7, 1960; studied in Vienna with Ernst von Dohnanyi; studied at the Paris Conservatory with Alfred Cortot; studied in Berlin with Ferruccio Busoni.

A child prodigy, pianist Clara Haskil made her debut in Bucharest at the age of nine, and then went on to study in Vienna and at the Paris Conservatory, where, at 14, she won the premier prix. During her concert career, which began in 1910, she played with a number of renowned artists, including violinist Georges Enesco, pianist Théophile Ysaÿe, and cellist Pablo Casals, and also soloed with major symphony orchestras throughout Europe and America. Haskil was known as a superb chamber-music performer. Though she was limited in power by her small stature and also plagued by a muscular deficiency which forced her to schedule her concerts around periods of remission, her pianism has been said to have radiated humanity and intelligence,

and her profound musicianship and determined spirit more than compensated for her physical limitations. Haskil made a number of recordings that are still regarded by many to be highly authoritative readings, particularly of key works of Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, and Schubert. Considered particularly fine are those she made with Belgian violinist Arthur Grumiaux. The pianist died in an accident in Brussels in 1960. A piano competition is held annually in her memory in Geneva, Switzerland.

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