Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ginette Neveu

Ginette Neveu was a French violinist born on August 11, 1919 (Heifetz was 18 years old.) She was considered one of the greatest of her time, despite a career that was cut short. Neveu was a child prodigy whose first teacher – at age 5 - was her mother, an accomplished violinist. She made her debut at age 7 in Paris with the Colonne Orchestra (at the Sorbonne Amphitheatre.) Further study at the Paris Conservatory, with George Enesco, and with Carl Flesch, completed her training. She is remembered for having beaten David Oistrakh (who came in second) when competing for the top prize at the Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition in 1934. She was 15 years old. After that, except for the interval during World War Two, during which she did some recording, she never stopped concertizing. She toured the U.S., Australia, Russia, Poland, Germany, South America, and Canada. Her London debut, however, did not come until 1945. Her brother, Jean-Paul Neveu, was often her accompanist. Her favorite composers were Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. It is said she possessed an intense, powerful sound. There are several videos of her playing on YouTube. Her last concert, at which she played the Sibelius violin concerto, was with the Halle Orchestra – October 20, 1949. A week later, en route to the U.S., Neveu, age 30, died in a devastating plane crash, October 27, 1949. Her brother was with her.

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