Historical interpretations of Friderick Chopin works

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Yvonne Lefébure - biography


Yvonne Lefébure, a French pianist, was born on 29 June 1898 in Ermont, and died on 23 January 1986 in Paris. She began playing the piano under a local music teacher in Saint-Mandé. In 1906 she was introduced to the well-known pianist Marguerite Long, who acknowledged the girl's musical talent and Lefébure was admitted to the conservatory in Paris. In 1912 she won the gold medal in the Concours de Petits Prodiges. At the age of fourteen, performing the Beethoven Sonata in F minor op. 57, she graduated with a premier prix from the piano class under Alfred Cortot. Soon she made her debut playing the Saint-Saëns Piano concerto in G minor op. 22 with Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux conducted by Camille Chevillard, and pieces by Gabriel Pierne with Orchestre des Concerts Colonne. She continued her education at the Paris Conservatoire, where she won a premier prix for harmony and counterpoint in the class under Georges Caussade, and a premier prix for fugue in the class under Charles-Marie Widor. Her playing ravished audiences with excellent technique, and her interpretations captivated them with musicality and sensitivity. Lefébure performed as a soloist and as a chamber musician. In 1950, invited by Pablo Casals, she took part in the first Chamber Music Festival in Prades. Along the Hungarian violinist Sandor Vegh she played all the violin sonatas by Beethoven. Her repertoire included also works by Bach, Mozart, Diabelli, Schubert, Chopin, but first of all she was the keen exponent of works by French composers: Ph. Rameau, C. Debussy, P. Dukas, G. Fauré, M. Ravel and A. Roussel. On numerous occasions she was dedicated pieces by such composers as M. Emmanuel, H. Martelli, J. Rivier, G. Migot, or H.Barraud. The pianist's first recordings date back to the 1930s. In 1950 she recorded Chopin's mazurkas and Scherzo in B minor for Chant du Monde. She remained an active pedagogue almost until the end. She tutored at the École Normale de Musique (1924-1939), and she taught master classes at the Conservatoire de Paris (1952-1967) and at the Conservatoire Européen (1971-1985). In 1964 she organised the summer festival Juillet Musical de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, during which she also tutored master courses. Her pupils included Catherine Collard, Imogen Cooper, Samson François, Michaël Levinas, Dinu Lipatti, Setrak.

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