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December, 2001
Letters to the Editor

[Tessa Birnie] [Felicja Blumental] [Kathie Nicolet]
[Maria Bono] [Lev, Faini, etc.] [Aline van Barentzen] [FEMMUSIC]

Subj: Tessa Birnie - Concert pianist & scholar/teacher
Date: 11/12/2001
To: PianoWomenEditor@aol.com

Dear Editor
It has today been drawn to my attention that you have not included Tessa Birnie among your list of famous women pianists. Perhaps you would agree to her inclusion?
Brief Bio - from current best recollection:
Born - New Zealand
Current resident - Sydney Australia
Principal teacher - Karl Schnabel (she was present at his 90th birth date celebrations 2 years ago)
Autobiography - published perhaps 3 years ago.
I'm Going To Be A Pianist! by Tessa Birnie
Autobiography of the New Zealand-born (1934) professional concert pianist, who first toured Europe in 1950 and has lived in Sydney for many years. Includes encounters with famous colleagues, her travels and tuition, and her early life in New Zealand.

Recent discography - 3 CD set "Keyboard Spectacular"
KEYBOARD SPECTACULAR -- Tessa Birnie - piano
This 3 CD set is without parallel. For the first time, 33 great keyboard composers are shown in chronological perspective. Tessa Birnie, internationally acclaimed pianist, has been variously described as the marathon woman of the keyboard - a world leading authority on Schubert - unique in her genre. WAL80432 (3 CDs at a special price)

Sonatina, Tessa Birnie (piano) on Columbia 33057568, 1957

Kind regards - Ala...
Music - the international language of the human spirit.

Subj: Felicja Blumental
Date: 11/13/2001
From: aceline@blumental-festival.org (Annette Celine Mizne)
To: PianoWomenEditor@aol.com

Dear Editor,
Could you kindly mention that it is ten years since the late pianist Felicja Blumental, passed away, on December 28 1991. An International Music Festival has been created in her memory at the Tel-Aviv Museum of Art. The city of Tel-Aviv has also named a new Music Center and Library in her memory. New CD's will be released of her unusual repertoire on Brana records. Thank you for your kind attention.

Yours truly,
Annette Celine
visit us at http://www.blumental-festival.org
and also http://www.classicaldiscoveries.com

Subj:Good Afternoon..
Date: 11/19/2001
From: KLN...
To: PianoWomenEditor@aol.com

I enjoyed visiting your site as a professional female pianist. Although I am classically trained and performed with concert orchestras, I am now a professional who has crossed over into broadway theatre/popular/etc. Didn't know if you would consider my webpage as a suitable link. Thank you.

Kathie Nicolet


Subj: Re: Good Afternoon..
Date: 11/20/2001
To: KLN...

Dear Kathie Nicolet,
Thank you for visiting "Women at the Piano". I'm glad that you enjoyed the site and was interested to hear of your career at the keyboard. It is always fascinating to read of the variety of ways women incorporate their keyboard skills into employment. Your website biography was impressive, along with the reports of your keyboard artistry, which obviously is enjoyed by many. However, I do not have plans in the near future to widen the listing to include the other genres of music which employ women keyboardists. This is largely due to my time constraints. My goal is first to fill in and develop pages of biographical information for the historic women, to explore more fully our "roots". Maybe when that is done I will branch out into other areas. I think I already have some crossover careers listed, where they have made recordings of classical music, as well as other styles.

Best wishes in your career,
Rose Eide-Altman
editor, Women at the Piano

Subj: Maria Bono...
Date: 11/25/2001
From: OND...
To: PianoWomenEditor@aol.com

Maria Bono taught piano at the Boston Conservatory of Music during the 1960's. She was an enormously gifted pianist/musician. As a child prodigy, she studied with Wanda Landowska. As a teenager and young adult, she studied in Italy with Agosti. She was accepted as a student along with Mehta, Abbado & Barenboim to study conducting with the renowed teacher Celidebache.

Although she seldom performed, I continue to savor the memories of her playing and teaching. Her colors and approach were unique. The music she played sounded new, very much in the manner of Horowitz.

Have you ever heard of her? If so, I would love to make contact with her once again. She has remained an inspiration to me for these many years.


Subj: Re: Maria Bono...
Date: 11/26/2001
To: OND...

I looked for Maria Bono in all the usual sources and could find nothing about her (see my list of sources in the page "About This Site" .) Probably the most likely place that may have information is the Boston Conservatory music archives. Best wishes in your search,
Rose Eide-Altman
editor, "Women at the Piano"

Subj: So pleased to find your website!
Date: 11/26/2001
From: rer...
To: PianoWomenEditor@aol.com

A record-collector friend looking for info on Anna Antoniades alerted me to your website. I am a (male) pianist, teacher, and record collector, and will find much interesting material here to interest and encourage my students, and to increase my knowledge.

May I add the name of Ray Lev to your list? She was written up frequently in "The Etude" in her lifetime. She made recordings for the Concert Hall label in the twilight of the 78 era (one I recall was the Prokofieff "Music for Children", but I believe she also waxed more demanding music)

Also, Maria Luisa Faini, who taught at the Eastman School of Music for a number of years. She was a student of Alfredo Casella at the Academy of Saint Cecilia in Italy, and taught and performed into her old age. I last saw her in 1981 (my undergraduate teacher studied with her and I had the privilege to play for her twice) and presume that she is no longer living.

I have a couple of late 40s Cetra discs by Vera Franceschi. She performed early Italian Baroque (Scarlatti and the like) on the modern piano.

Also, have you visited Nigel Nettheim's site and seen his wonderful coverage of Maryla Jonas?

Roanoke, Alabama


Subj: Re: So pleased to find your website!
Date: 11/26/2001
To: rer...

Thank you for visiting "Women at the Piano" and for suggesting new entries for this site. I always appreciate learning of new pianists and plan to include them in the pianist list as soon as I can look up more biographical information on them (birth and death dates/places to begin with). Each of the women you named are listed in George Kehler's "The Piano in Concert", which contains short biographies on them (but unfortunately I don't own a copy of the book and need to visit the library at the Univ. of MD to read it, as well as other sources about these women). If you would like to write a biography page on any of these women it would be greatly appreciated!

As for Nigel Nettheim's pages, I have greatly enjoyed reading his site and seeing the new pages he has been adding. If you read through past "Letters to the Editor" columns in "Women at the Piano" you will see where he has kept me informed about his pages and I link Maryla Jonas, as well as Maggie Oakey, to his site.

Thank you again for the names and I look forward to reading more about them.
Rose Eide-Altman
editor, Women at the Piano

Subj: Aline van Barentzen
Date: 11/26/2001
From: pan...
To: PianoWomenEditor@aol.com

Dear Editor:
I was fascinated to read the biography of Aline van Barentzen on your website, written by Rose Eide-Altman. At a family gathering this Thanksgiving, Aunt Aline's name was brought up, along with the many stories of her visits to her family in the United States, as we reminisced and sought to fill in family history for the younger generations. Following that visit, one of my nieces, Ann P..., discovered your website and sent me the link to the Biography page on Aline van Barentzen.

Aline van Barentzen was the daughter of Thomas Gerard Hoyle, who was born in Somerville, Massachusetts. Our understanding, in the Hoyle family, was that Aline's mother left the United States and went to Europe. The reasons were hazy, but in retrospect, some family members believe that her mother divorced Thomas, partly in order to create a protege in Aline, and to give Aline a European musical education. We don't really know if that is true. We DO know that Aline returned to the United States as a teenager, and was re-united with her paternal family.

Thomas Hoyle, her father, lived in Quincy, Massachusetts as an adult. My father and his brother were born in the house in Quincy, and our families stayed within a block of that house for the next 60 years or more. Following that visit to Quincy, ALine became very close to her youngest sister Ruth, and to her younger brothers, including my father, Thomas Gerard Hoyle Junior (b.1909), and my uncle, Edward Hanson Hoyle. These children were the result of Thomas Senior's marriage to Mary Keenan, and were therefore, Aline's half-sister and half brothers. Aline always stayed with our family when she came over from Europe, then would travel on to New York City and Washington for her concerts.

Aline was married to Roger Leviste, and they lived at 100 Rue Lauriston in Paris, France. Roger was a concert violinist, who often accompanied her to the United States when she would come here to concert. She never flew, but always traveled by ship. Aunt ALine stayed at my home many times, in Quincy, Massachusetts. My mother and father would make arrangements for Aline to practice at the New England Conservatory when she stayed with us. She also stayed with my Aunt Ruth and her family many times.

I remember "Aunt" Aline giving a concert on a Saturday night at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. She was a statuesque blonde, with phenomenal presence and tremendous charismatic power. We were thrilled to be able to be present for that. I clearly remember her midnight blue concert gown, and the venue of the garden atrium at the National Gallery. I was 21 years old. That was in late 1963 or early 1964.

We only have two mementos of Aline's phenomenal skill and musical sensitivity. Our family has two separate 33 1/3 records, recorded when I was a child, and given to my parents. My mother, M. Geraldine Hoyle, corresponded with Aline faithfully until she passed away. Late in life, Aline became blind. Her students would write her letters for her, and mail them to the United States to continue the correspondence with my mother.

I would like to find more information about Aline, and would definitely like to find more recordings of her work, if that is possible. When she passed away, my family was not notified for many months, even though my mother sent many letters to Aline's home in Paris, inquiring after her. One of her students was kind enough to inform us that she had passed away, but by that time, all of her personal effects and music were gone. I am ESPECIALLY interested in locating any information on the piano pieces that she composed under the name of "Hoyle". "Hoyle" was not her married name, but her real maiden name. Our understanding of the "van Barentzen" name, was that it was her mother's name, and her mother used it as Aline's surname when they went to Europe. In fact, however, Aline's real name was "Hoyle".

Any information that you might provide to assist me would be very appreciated by myself, and all the members of our family. Thank you for honoring Aline in your website.

Very sincerely yours,
Peggy M...

Date: 11/10/2001
From: ateitz7@hotmail.com (Alex Teitz)
To: alex@femmusic.com

Dear Woman at the Piano:
My name is Alex Teitz, and I'm the Editor-In-Chief for FEMMUSIC, an international online magazine devoted to emerging women in music. I visited your website, and wanted to say how helpful and amazing it is. FEMMUSIC doesn't cover classical at this time, but if we ever do, I will know whom to do research with. I'm going to add your link to FEMMUSIC next week.

Alex Teitz
1550 Larimer St. #511
Denver, CO 80202


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Date: 11/12/2001
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