to the Editor
[Lev, Faini, etc.]
[Aline van Barentzen]
Subj: Tessa Birnie - Concert pianist & scholar/teacher
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
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Annette Celine Mizne)
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.
visit us at
and also http://www.classicaldiscoveries.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.
Subj: Re: Good Afternoon..
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,
editor, Women at the Piano
Subj: Maria Bono...
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...
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,
editor, "Women at the Piano"
Subj: So pleased to find your website!
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
Subj: Re: So pleased to find your website!
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
Thank you again for the names and I look forward to reading more about them.
editor, Women at the Piano
Subj: Aline van Barentzen
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,
From: email@example.com (Alex Teitz)
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.
1550 Larimer St. #511
Denver, CO 80202
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