Zofia Rabcewicz - biography
Zofia Rabcewicz, a Polish pianist, was born on 7 October 1870 in Vilnius, and died on 3 September 1947 in Milanowek near Warsaw. She began her systematic musical education in 1877 in St. Petersburg at the Imperial Conservatory under Iosif Borowka. In 1884 she continued her studies at the Conservatory as a pupil of Anton Rubinstein. On 31 May 1890, at her diploma concert, she played the Rubinstein Concerto in D minor, which was awarded with honors to her diploma, as well as with two grand pianos: a Schröder and a Becker. In 1891 she went on tour of Russia, Germany and Austria. After two sensational recitals in Berlin a critic wrote: "Undoubtedly, a new pianistic genius has been born." Next year she gave another concert in Berlin, this time with the famous conductor Hans von Bülow. After her performance in Dresden, Bernhard Vogel announced in the press that "with her performance of the Concerto in F minor [...] she eliminated all the other female pianists, who had played this piece for the last six years". On 29 March 1892 she made a successful debut in Warsaw. From 1893 to 1918 she would only give occasional concerts. During World War I she played at charity concerts in aid of Polish families. After moving to Warsaw, in 1918, she performed in recitals of Chopin works, took part in symphonic concerts, played chamber music with violinists and cellists, and played in the Polish Radio studios. Her exceptional memory and technique let her play on demand several dozen pieces at once. Her wide-ranging repertoire included almost all works by Chopin and Schumann, most of Beethoven's sonatas and pieces by Couperin, Rameau, Scarlatti, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Liszt, Brahms, Franck, Liadov, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, d’Albert, Clementi, Field and others. She promoted works by Polish composers: Michał Kleofas Ogiński, Stanisław Moniuszko, Aleksander Zarzycki, Zygmunt Noskowski, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Franciszek Brzeziński, Henryk Melcer, Karol Szymanowski, Ludomir Różycki and Juliusz Zarębski. In 1922 she began teaching at the Warsaw Conservatory, and continued to 1928. She also taught at the Musical School of the Wysocki family. In 1935 she went on tour of the United States, but the tour turned up to be a failure due to poor organization and resulting in only one concert, at the NBC Radio studio. Throughout the Nazi occupation she lived in Warsaw, where she played in over 60 underground concerts. In September 1945 she gave an outstanding performance of Chopin's Concerto in F minor, and on 25 August 1946 she inaugurated Chopin festivals in Duszniki Zdroj. Her last performance took place on Polish Radio on 2 July 1947. "The greatness of her artistry" - wrote Zbigniew Drzewiecki - "could I only understand at the very last stage of her life, [...] she played the immortal Sonata in B minor, and she played it flawlessly. Apart from this, nothing seemed to stand out in her interpretation, but what could embrace all was this simplicity - an ideal harmony of Chopin's beauty." She sat on the jury of the International Chopin Competitions in Warsaw in 1927, 1932 i 1937. Her pupils included Maria Strakacz, Stanisław Chojecki and others.