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April 2002
Letters to the Editor

[Biro/Milkina] [Beth Levin] [Philippa Schuyler] [Madeleine de Valmalete]
[Sondra Bianca] [Polina Osetinskaya] [Elisso Wirssaladze] [Keytempo directory of classical musicians]

Subj:Two names
Date: 3/10/2002

Dear Mrs. Eide-Altman,
I have a CD by a Hungarian Pianist named Sari Biro which includes some wonderful performances taken from live performances in 1949 but this seems to be the only reference I can see about her. Do you or your readers have any other information? The 3 concerti on the disc were taken from 3 nights on which she played 9 concerti - 3 per night! I wonder if any eneterprising company is likely to release any of the other 6 performances or indeed any commercial recordings she may have made?

Also, whilst browsing through old concert programmes I found one of a performance I'd attended that memory told me was a fine Chopin Piano Concerto 2 given by Nina Milkina. However I discover it was actually given by Juliana Markova (it was 24 years ago). Searching the web has turned up no information - from the programme I know she was a prizewinner in the Enescu and Margueritte Long competitions and performed under Andrew Davis, Claudio Abbado and Zubin Mehta. Does Ms Markova still perform? Has she recorded?

Hoping someone can help,
Best wishes,
Robert Challinor


Subj: Re: Two names
Date: 3/29/2002

Dear Robert Challinor,
Thank you for visiting "Women at the Piano". Sorry this reply is so long in coming. My first place to look up names of pianists is in the out-of-print book by George Kehler: "The Piano in Concert" (1982). There are hundreds of artists listed with biographical sketches and select concert programs. Both of your pianists were listed and I will include their biographies below. But as far as their recordings go, I would suggest you may inquire at IPAM (the International Piano Archives at Maryland) which has almost every classical piano recording ever produced. The curator is Donald Manildi at < dm137@umail.umd.edu>. I will also publish your letter for the readers and you may get a response that way. Another place to inquire is the Yahoo group "classical-pianists" which primarily discusses recordings: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/classical-pianists.

Here are the biographical sketches from Kehler:
Hungarian pianist was born at Budapest. She began her piano studies at the age of six at the Franz Liszt Royal Academy of Budapest, where she earned her Artist Diploma in half the allotted time and then began her brilliant career. Everywhere she has been acclaimed by audience and critics as one of the world's great. Biro came to America in 1940 and made her Town Hall debut in that year. She has played hundreds of concerts and appeared as soloist with the leading orchestras in the prinicpal music centers of the world" (he lists 19 cities). Sari Biro has performed many times on radio and television, and she is the only woman pianist ever to perform nine major concertos in three concerts, which she presented in Carnegie Hall. Biro resides in San Francisco." Kehler lists 7 recital programs, none with orchestra.


Kehler only lists Nina Milkina, not Juliana Markova:
Pianist, was born at Moscow in 1919. She went to England at the age of seven. Educated by Leon Conus and the Paris Conservatory, she later studied with Harold Craxton and Matthay in London. She made her debut at age eleven with the Lamoureax Orchestra in Paris; since then she has broadcasted, televised, and toured widely. She has specialized in the playing of Mozart for which she is noted both in the United States and on the Continent, but her repertoire as a concert pianist is extensive and includes among other composers Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin."

This may not be the same person since it doesn't mention the competitions, but they do not list Markova.
Hope this helps. . . best wishes with the search,

Rose Eide-Altman
Sykesville, MD, USA
editor, Women at the Piano

Subj:Subj: women pianists
Date: 3/9/2002

To whom it may concern:

I would like to be considered for the list of women pianists.

My teachers were Rudolf Serkin and Leonard Shure. I have toured with Music From Marlboro, recorded for Columbia Masterworks and a live performance of the "Wanderer" Fantasy was recently released on the Palexa label. I have performed here and abroad extensively as soloist with major orchestras (Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle, etc.)in recital, and as chamber musician. I will be performing in New York in March with the American Arts Trio at Manhattan School of Music. I have been reviewed many times by Richard Dyer, Alan Kozinn and Harold C. Schoenberg.

Sincerely yours,
Beth levin

P.S. Because I am a regular contributor to La Folia, an online music publication, perhaps my name could be linked to the site: www.LaFolia.com.

Subj: philippa schuyler sheet music
Date: 3/9/2002

Would you happen to know if there's a library/research collection of sheet music et. al. for Philippa Schuyler, who was listed on your Women in Music Composer Bio page? I happen to have a copy of her "Nine Little Pieces," c. Mrs. George S. Schuyler, 1938, NY, a 7-pp collection. It is autographed on the cover "Very sincerely Philippa Schuyler" in what looks to be an older handwriting than the picture of the youngster playing the piano. After I acquired this music, I sought out and read the Carolyn See biography on the composer, so I'm aware who she is. Would like this music copy to go someplace where it can be valued. I am moving and it is not in my "to take" collection.

Elizabeth Mina
Hackettstown, NJ


Subj: re: philippa schuyler sheet music
Date: 3/29/2002

Dear Ms. Mina,
Thank you for visiting "Women at the Piano". I apologize for this late reply. In the latest Grove dictionary of music and musicians, at the end of Philippa Schuyler's entry there is a statement that "her manuscripts are in the Schomberg Center for Research and Black Culture (New York)." Technically that is the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture and is a part of the New York Public Library system. Thier website is at . They may be happy to receive an autographed score of hers.

Best wishes,
Rose Eide-Altman
Sykesville, MD, USA
editor, Women at the Piano

Subj: Are you familiar with...
Date: 3/11/2002

...Madeleine de Valmalete?

Former pupil of Isidor Philipp, I have been unable to find much more information about her. Performed into her nineties, recording as late as 1992, a Mozart CD.

I have just received a Brunswick 78 rpm set (late twenties, early thirties..) of her Tombeau de Couperin that must be heard to be believed. I wonder if she coached this with Ravel?
She is mentioned at the Arbiter Museum of Historic Pianists site, but they know little of her too.

Rick Robertson


Subj: More on Madeleine de Valmalete
Date: 3/12/2002

I am forwarding you some information that Ernest Lumpe in Germany sent to me, concerning Madeleine de Valmalete. She was quite an artist....


>> Madeleine de Valmalète was French, born in 1899 (she died not long ago, but I do not recall when exactly). I quote from Wilson Lyle's "A Dictionary of Pianists":

b. Montreuil, France. Student of I. Philipp at PAris Cons., winning 1st prize for pf playing. Became well-known recitalist and concerto player, touring Europe numerous times. Taught et Ecole Normale and was pf. prof. at Grenoble Conservatoire. Recorded Polydor. I have her 78s recording of Debussy's "Feux d'artifice", Liszt's 11th Rhapsody and the complete "Tombeau" of Ravel on a Pearl CD and Mussorgsky-Rachmaninoff's Gopak, the Rachmaninoff Barcarolle from his op. 10 pieces and Prokofieff's March from the "3 Oranges" on a 1928 Polydor 78 disc. The Pearl booklet does not mention any direct connection with Ravel, but says that she was highly appreciated by Saint-Saens "because of her fine interpretations of Schumann, Chopin, Liszt and the modern French composers, as posessor of an unusual technique and rare intelligence."

. . .hope this helps just a bit....
kind regards, Ernst Lumpe


Subj: Re: More on Madeleine de Valmalete
Date: 3/29/2002

Dear Rick Robertson,

Thank you very much for your interest in "Women at the Piano". Sorry this reply is so long in coming. Valmalete is included in George Kehler's "The Piano in Concert" (1982) with the following biographical paragraph:

"French pianist, studied in Paris under Isidore Philipp. She was soloist of the concerts Colonne, Lamoureax in Paris and the concerts classic in Mone Carlo. She was especially admired by Saint-Saens, due to her fine interpretations of Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, and the modern French composers as possessor of an unusual technique and rare intelligence. She made a name for herself in the 1920's."

Charles Timbrell mentions her in his book "French Pianism": A Historical Perspective (2nd ed, 1999), page 77:

"Youra Guller and Madeleine de Valmalete, both students of Isidor Philipp, also began their notable careers in the 1920s. . . Valmalete was a more overt virtuosa, earning Saint-Saen's praise while she was still a teenager. Her 1930 recording of Ravel's Le tombeau de Couperin is outstanding, clean and alacritous in the outer movements and stylishly up-beat and transparent in the dances. Her playing of Chopin and Liszt was always praised for its technical accomplishment, but -- to judge from two late, private recordings -- it could be rather musically detached."

Appendix 3 is a selected discography which includes three listings for her:
"Chopin: 25 Preludes; Nocturnes Nos. 4, 5, and 13; 3 Ecossaises. L'Empreinte Digitale ED-01.
Chopin: 8 Waltzes (+Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 10; Liebestraum No. 3; Les jeax d'eau a la Villa d'Este; Gnomenreigen). Oria OR-01 [cassette tape].
Ravel: Le tombeau de Couperin (+Debussy: Feux d'artifice; Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 11). Pearl GEMM 9495"

Thank you very much for bringing her to my attention. Hope you enjoy these other little tidbits on her.

Rose Eide-Altman
Sykesville, MD, USA
editor, Women at the Piano

Subj: Looking for a recording
Date: 3/20/2002

To Whom This May Concern:
In the early 1960's, I purchased an LP recording of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 which featured Sonya Bianca on the piano. The first name may be incorrect, but I do recall that it did start with an "S". I am sure of the last name. The album cover showed Ms. Bianca sitting at the piano, and she was a young artist at the time (probably mid 20's). Unfortunately, I have forgotten the name of the record company that produced this recording.

Is there any way to track down the source of this record or to track down recordings made by Ms. Bianca over the years? Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated. I am seeking to purchase a copy of this recording, if possible, hopefully a CD version.

Kolby Hughes


Subj: Re: Looking for a recording
Date: 3/29/2002

Dear Kolby Hughes,
Thank you for visiting "Women at the Piano". Sorry this reply is so late in coming. In George Kehler's "The Piano in Concert" he lists a "Sondra Bianca" born 1930. This is probably the artist you refer to. This book only lists concerts, not recordings. I would suggest that you ask IPAM (the International Piano Archives at Maryland) about her recordings. They have a copy and/or tape of every classical piano recording made. The curator is Donald Manildi at . He may know of the recording, or others, and he may know other ways to find out if any of her recordings are available on CD.

Here is her entry in Kehler's "The Piano in Concert":
American pianist, was born at Brooklyn, N.Y., on November 17, 1930. She studied under the direction of her mother, then with Frank Sheridan at Mannes Music School and Isabella Vengerova at Curtis Institute of Music. Bianca was soloist with the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra and performed over the French network of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation prior to her New York City debut on November 1, 1941, with the New York Philharmonic - Sympony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. She also appeared with other major orchestras."

Another place to inquire at is the Yahoo group "classical-pianists" at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/classical-pianists/ They primarily discuss recordings.

Best wishes in your search,
Rose Eide-Altman
Sykesville, MD, USA
editor, Women at the Piano

Subj: re a brilliant pianist not on your webpage
Date: 3/26/2002

I see that a brilliant young Russian pianist named Polina Osetinskaya is not listed on your web. Is there a reason? If not, maybe you'd like to check out her web page. which has renditions in full of the Rach #2, the Mozart #24, the Schubert-Liszt Wanderer Fantasy, and the Grieg Concerto. http://www.osetinskaya.ru/polina_4_e.html If the link doesn't work you can find her on the Google search engine.

Subj: Addition
Date: 3/27/2002

Please add Elisso Wirssaladze to your list of female pianists. Thank you.

Subj: New URL for the Keytempo directory of classical musicians
Date: 3/30/2002

New URL for the Keytempo directory of classical musicians

Dear Rose

I came across the PianoWomen site recently, which is very impressive.

I am a music librarian at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester.

I am also the editor of the Keytempo directory of musicians, although the Keytempo directory has no direct connection with RNCM.

Would you be interested in including the following in your newsletter? If so, the following information may be useful.

You are probably already aware of the Keytempo international directory of musicians, which covers organizations and companies active in classical music. This is planned to grow into one of the most visited music directory sites during 2002, due to its worldwide coverage, its planned very large size, and its ease of navigation - see the pilot web site at


Some of the artists listed on the PianoWomen site may either like to get a free entry in the Keytempo directory, or alternatively to get an enhanced entry, which makes more impact, which can be done in concert with a musician's agent - for an example of this see


During 2002, the pilot version will move to a full version at (still under construction) and will be split into an international and national (and hopefully local) listings.

The national Keytempo directories include basic listings (free). The international directory has enhanced entries (entirely optional) available at a low cost, (see the website for details).

For a free basic listing in the relevant national directory, email keylist@sesame.demon.co.uk, with your entry arranged like this:

A Rimas, Juozas
B Zirmunu 12-34, Vilnius 2051, Lithuania
C +370 822 759029 (tel);
D (No fax);
E bong@iti.lt
F Oboist; Professor of Woodwinds, Lithuanian Academy of Music.
Full description of layout:
A Name (Surname, Forname(s))
B Basic postal address, including postcode and country
C Tel (ISO format prefered (e.g. +44 1234 56 789 in UK)
D Fax (ISO format prefered (e.g. +1 999 123 4567 in US)
(Use "(Fax=tel)" or "(No fax)" if applicable)
E Email@address (not web site) *
F Descriptors: up to three or four simple one-word or two-word phrases stating what role(s) you undertake, e.g. Violinist, Publisher, Conductor, Recording Company, Record retailer, Agent, etc.
It may also be useful to state CONCISELY (240 characters maximum) any specialisms you have.
* Web URLs, graphics, more detailed descriptions and other features can be listed in enhanced entries: contact Keytempo Limited once the basic entry is in place.

In case of queries, please contact John Clews (Keytempo editor) at:
Keytempo Limited, 8 Avenue Rd, Harrogate, HG2 7PG, United Kingdom.
Email: keylist@sesame.demon.co.uk; tel: +44 1423 888 432
Web: http://www.sesame.demon.co.uk/newpilot

Best regards
John Clews
Director and Editor
Keytempo directory of musicians
Keytempo Limited (Information Management),
8 Avenue Rd, Harrogate, HG2 7PG, United Kingdom.
Email: Keylist@sesame.demon.co.uk
tel: +44 1423 888 432 (01423 888 432 in the UK).
Pilot site at http://www.sesame.demon.co.uk/newpilot

this page published April 6, 2002
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