Neveu, Ginette (1919–1949)

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Neveu, Ginette (1919–1949)

French violinist. Born in France in 1919; died in an airplane crash in 1949; studied at the Paris Conservatory.

A child prodigy, French violinist Ginette Neveu made her debut in Paris in 1926, at the age of seven, and went on to study with Carl Flesch at the Paris Conservatory. Neveu was barely known in the United States, but she was a close friend of English conductor John Barbirolli and often played at his concerts and recorded with him. Sadly, her promising career was cut short when she was killed in a plane crash at the age of 30.

Neveu was particularly acclaimed for her performances of the concerti of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865–1957), some of which were recorded in the 1940s. In 1998, a recording she made in 1946 with the New York Philharmonic (under the baton of Barbirolli) was re-released, giving those who had never heard her play the Symphony No. 2, Violin Concerto, an opportunity to do so. The recording, transferred and restored from the original 78, is quite remarkable, according to John McKelvey who reviewed the issue for the American Record Guide. "Her intonation is flawless, her tone bright, clear, and smooth but also big and forceful in forte passages," he writes about Neveu. "It

never goes raw and coarse, even under intense pressure. She performs the Sibelius as though it were child's play. Her tempos are in the mainstream, and her interpretation is clear-eyed and unsentimental, though by no means expressionless or dispassionate."


McKelvey, John P. Review in American Record Guide. Vol. 61, no. 6. November–December 1998, p. 314.

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