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November, 2001
Letters to the Editor

[Novaes & Kraus] [Ivory Classics] [Gloria Cheng] [Ethel Newcomb] [Advertisements]

Subj: Wrong birthdates:
Date: 10/9/2001
From: det...@us.
To: PianoWomenEditor@aol.com

Your website is fascinating, but quickly scanning it I find two wrong birthdates:
+Guiomar Novaes was born February 28, 1895, in Sao Joao de Boa Vista (not 02/08/96, in Sao Paolo)
+Lili Kraus was born April 3, 1905, in Budapest (not March 3, 1908).

Yours sincerely,
R. Dettmer


Subj: Re: Wrong birthdates:
Date: 10/17/2001
To: det...@us.

Dear Roger Dettmer,
Thank you for visiting PianoWomen.com and for drawing my attention to Novaes and Kraus. Your statement of my misinformation made me go back to my sources and I checked about 10 reference books, such as Groves, Baker, Thompson, Hixon, Kehler, Gillespie, etc., to determine the correct birthdates of these women and where I had seen the ones I listed.

Only the oldest references list February 8, 1896 as the birthdate for Guiomar Novaes. The current sources are all in agreement that the accurate day is February 28, as you stated, and most list 1895 as the year, though a major Brazilian biographical online site about her lists 1894, see Guimar Novaes and go to "vida pessoal". Some references list the city of her birthplace, Sao Joao da Bao Vista, as you mentioned, but some just list the region that city is in, which is Sao Paulo, as I had listed. You will find that I am changing her information to that which you sent, which is listed by most sources (though I am intrigued by the earlier year listed on the Brazilian site).

As far as Lili Kraus is concerned, there are about 4 different dates listed for her birthdate in the 10 sources I checked. Hixon's "Women in Music" lists two: April 3, 1905 or Mar. 4, 1908, which reflects the information printed in the dictionary sources Hixon references. I recently obtained her biography by Steve Roberson, "Lili Kraus: Hungarian Pianist, Texas Teacher, Personality Extraordinaire", pub. 2000 by TCU Press, and he states specifically that she was born March 4, 1903. This birthdate is included in her entry in 2001 Bakers music dictionary, as well as the Gillespie's "Notable Twentieth-century Pianists", published 1995, and is the date I will be changing for her entry on PianoWomen.com.

Again, thank you for your time and interest in maintaining accurate information on my site and the world wide web.

Rose Eide-Altman
editor, "Women at the Piano"


Subj: Re: Wrong birthdates:
Date: 10/17/2001
From: det...@us.
To: PianoWomenEditor@aol.com

Dear Ms. Eide-Altman,
Thank you so much for your reply! The Kraus date is a real problem since Robertson gave it his blessing. But I knew her (not well, but knew her through Hungarian friends), and I remember asking about the birthdate (and year) confusions. Lili was a nonstop talker and a quite pushy hustler of her pupils at competitions -- one of which I judged in 1979 in Cincinnati. She was coy about the confusion, of course, but I remember saying, "Madame Kraus, no way are you a Pisces [March 4]. Nothing in your art or your personal history supports that." She blinked and said, "So what am I then?" I replied (being at the time a student and sometime-practioner of Astrology, sort of like Holst except that I never really put it aside), "Aries." She inquired further, no longer blinking but coyly, and when confronted with the evidence said "Well, yes, my real birthdate was April 3, but I changed it, and the year, so people wouldn't judge my playing by my age." No Scorpio planets on either date, so it may have been her Ascendant. 1903, though, simply doesn't factor -- astrologically, that is.

Obviously this is anecdotal, but my admiration of her prewar recordings was (when I first heard them on imported postwar-78 pressings as a teen), and continues to be unalloyed. Sadly, the concentration camp experiences in Java appear to have been enduringly traumatic: she never after was the Lili Kraus who gave such elegant and insightful performances, either as a soloist or with Szymon Goldberg in those historic Mozart-Beethoven sonata performances originally for Parlophone, since rescued by Music & Arts.

With best wishes, and thanks again, for a singular and fascinating website.

R. Dettmer
P.S. Be careful of Slonimsky after the 1971 Supplement to his takeover of Baker V; he was already elderly and became both eccentric and frequently careless in later editions, many mistakes having been perpetuated by subsequent editors. Re: The New Grove, I can only roll my eyes heavenward when they aren't spinning. I can't afford the update (what -- New New?), but perhaps my local library can, if I survive that long in corporeal confinement.

Subj: Your listings
Date: 10/26/2001
From: mrdavis@columbus
To: PianoWomenEditor@aol.com

Dear Editor,
My name is Michael Rolland Davis and I'm President of Ivory Classics - an independent classical record label devoted to pianists and the piano. You list on your website, four of our current recording artists and thought it would be nice for the people viewing your website to have a link to these wonderfully talented woman pianists.

We currently have the only CD release of Ethel Leginska, we have a new Schumann recording by Ann Schein and we have a total of three CD releases by Ruth Slenczynska. At present you only have Nadia Reisenberg's link to her Ivory Classics Haydn Sonatas release.

It would be very helpful if you could add these links to the pianists listed above. Our address is: www.IvoryClassics.com

Thank you for your help and attention.
Michael Rolland Davis
President, Ivory Classics


Subj:re:Your listings
Date: 10/26/2001
From: PianoWomenEditor@aol.com

Dear Michael R. Davis,
Thank you for visiting PianoWomen.com and for your interest in the information on my site. This month I have added links to Ivory Classics for Leginska and Schein. Both of these names were lacking biographical sites so I appreciate your reminding me about the material on your site. I hope that it will also generate more business for your company, which is doing an excellent job making historical recordings available, as well as making new recordings. With the recording giants today pulling away from the classical venue we rely more than ever on smaller companies to make available the classics of yesterday and new artists of today.

I appreciate your reminding me particularly about Ann Schein's recording. Previously I linked her name to her faculty bio at Peabody, but now that she is no longer there I needed a new biographical source. I remember when she made the Schumann recording several years ago. I am involved in the music department at the church in which it was recorded, Spencerville Seventh-day Adventist Church, and we were very excited when she chose it as the place to make the recording. We frequently host recording artists, but not many of her caliber.

Best wishes for continued success with your business,

Rose Eide-Altman
editor, Women at the Piano

Subj: Oversight?
Date: 10/29/2001
From: studio...@earthlink.net
To: PianoWomenEditor@aol.com

I found your website today after seeing/hearing Valentina Igoshina on TV yesterday.
I'm surprised that Gloria Cheng is absent from your list of featured contemporary artists. She is a phenomenal player, based in Los Angeles, with a noteworthy resume and a TelArc recording deal.
Keep up the good work.

D. Arnay


Subj: Re: Oversight?
To: studio. . .@earthlink.net

Dear David Arnay,
Thank you very much for recommending Gloria Cheng as an addition to our Other Contemporary Women Pianist page. In looking around for a suitable link for her (I prefer individual websites, but when none is available I then prefer interviews) I found two interviews that "PianoForte News" did with her and I greatly enjoyed reading them: August 2000 and Sept. 2001. I found her comments were a wonderful combination of experience and practicality, yet with freshness and energy, and I referenced one section in my Just for Teachers page for November. Thanks again for taking the time to write. I also appreciate being able to add a pianist from the (underrepresented) West Coast.

Rose Eide-Altman
editor, "Women at the Piano"

Subj: Female Pianists - Updates?
Date: 10/30/2001
From: lanceghill@email
To: PianoWomenEditor@aol.com

I enjoyed your site very much! Are you interested in additions/updates/possible corrections to this site? I have been maintaining names for many years as my radio broadcasts are based on birth- and death dates.

You may want to check out the bulletin board service maintained on the website, www.classicalmusicguide.com of which I am editor.

Do you know of a similar site for male pianists?

One you MAY want to add to the present site is ETHEL NEWCOMB, b. Whitney Point, NY 10 30 1875, d. Whitney Point, NY 07 03 1959. She was a student and assistant to Theodor Leschetizky, concertized widely throughout Europe, and wrote a book entitled "Leschetizky As I Knew Him." [I knew the artist personally if more information is needed.]

Lance G. Hill

"The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted."
--Shakespeare (The Merchant of Venice)


The following letter is an advertisement that readers may be interested in:

Subj: US Women's Chamber Launched!
Date: 10/23/2001
From: info@uswomenschamber.com (US Women's Chamber of Commerce)
Reply-to: info@uswomenschamber.com
To: PianoWomenEditor@aol.com

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