Bachauer, Gina

Alternative names

Hide Profile

Gina Bachauer (1913-1976) was a world renowned Greek pianist who performed many times with the Utah Symphony.

Gina Bachauer was born May 21, 1913, in Athens, Greece. She began piano lessons at age five after attending a concert of Emil Sauer. When she was nine years old, the Polish pianist Woldemar Freeman settled in Greece and after hearing her play took her on as a student. She worked seriously with him until she finished her studies at the Athens Conservatory when she was sixteen years old, winning the Gold Medal in 1929.

Woldemar Freeman wanted her to go to Paris to work with Cortot, and to learn the ways of French music. Her parents paid for her to attend the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, where she studied for three years under Alfred Cortot. During her studies, she met Sergei Rachmaninoff, from whom she received virtually the only lessons he taught after his self-imposed exile from Russia.

When Bachauer's funds ran out, she returned to Greece to try to make a living as a pianist. Her debut in 1935 with the Athens Orchestra under Mitropoulos did not launch her performing career as she had hoped, so she taught at the Athens Conservatory until she had saved up enough money to embark on a concert tour of Europe. However, World War II broke out during her tour, and she was left stranded in Cairo for its duration. Bachauer became a "kind of pianist-in-ordinary" for the Allied troops in the area, playing roughly 630 recitals in camps and hospitals. While in Egypt, she also married John Christodoulo, who died suddenly in 1950.

After the war, Bachauer traveled to London where she was introduced to orchestra conductor Alec Sherman, who engaged her as a soloist. The two eventually married, and Sherman gave up part of his career to become her manager, saying there are many conductors, but only one Gina Bachauer.

Bachauer's London debut was at the Albert Hall in 1947, and her New York debut was at Carnegie Hall in 1950. She also gave the first solo recital, as Founding Artist, in Washington D.C.'s Kennedy Center. She maintained a demanding concert schedule, playing 110 to 120 concerts a year on six-month tours alternating between the USA and the rest of the world.

Gina Bachauer was often regarded as the greatest female pianist of the twentieth century. A student of Cortot and Rachmaninoff, she enjoyed a long and successful performing career, and wooed the toughest of critics with her Romantic repertoire. She developed a close bond with the people of Utah and performed frequently with the Utah Symphony under Maurice Abravanel. On one occasion, Bachauer played with the Symphony accompanied by her pupil, Her Royal Highness Princess Irene of the Hellenes. She helped make their first international tour a reality in 1966 when the symphony traveled to Greece, Yugoslavia, Austria, Germany, and England. Due to this bond, her legacy lives on in Utah in the form of the Gina Bachauer Archives and the Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation.

Gina Bachauer died in Athens on August 22, 1976. Brigham Young University was the first home of the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition.

From the guide to the Gina Bachauer papers, 1898, 1928-1989, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Ambassador Auditorium Collection, 1974-1995 Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries
referencedIn Horowitz, Vladimir, 1903-1989. The papers of Vladimir and Wanda Toscanini Horowitz, 1784-1991 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
creatorOf Bachauer, Gina. Correspondence with Eugene Ormandy, 1975. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Philadelphia Orchestra. Transcription of WFLN radio broadcast [sound recording], 1968 March 1. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Gina Bachauer collection, [ca. 1964-ongoing]. Museum of Performance & Design
referencedIn Scherman, Alexander. Correspondence with Eugene Ormandy, 1977. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Gina Bachauer papers, 1898, 1928-1989 L. Tom Perry Special CollectionsMusic Special Collections
referencedIn The Papers of Vladimir and Wanda Toscanini Horowitz., 1784-1991 Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University
creatorOf Philadelphia Orchestra. Transcription of WFLN radio broadcast [sound recording], 1974 September 18. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Kirkpatrick, John, 1905-1991. The John Kirkpatrick papers, 1836-1993 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
creatorOf Bachauer, Gina. Correspondence with Marian Anderson, n.d. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Nicolas Slonimsky Collection, 1873-1997, (bulk 1920-1990) Music Division Library of Congress
referencedIn Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation records, 1958-2007 L. Tom Perry Special CollectionsMusic Special Collections
creatorOf Guelph Spring Festival Archives. Event form, correspondence and program concerning performance by Pianist Gina Bachauer, 1976 - performance file. University of Guelph
referencedIn The John Kirkpatrick Papers, 1836-1993 (inclusive) Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University
referencedIn Serge Koussevitzky Archive, 1920-1976, (bulk 1924-1951) Music Division Library of Congress
creatorOf Guelph Spring Festival Archives. Gina Bachauer (Piano), May 2, 1976 - house program. University of Guelph
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation corporateBody
associatedWith Guelph Spring Festival Archives. corporateBody
associatedWith Guelph Spring Festival Archives. corporateBody
associatedWith Horowitz, Vladimir, 1903-1989. person
associatedWith Horowitz, Wanda Toscanini. person
associatedWith Hurok Concerts, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Kirkpatrick, John, 1905-1991. person
correspondedWith Koussevitzky, Serge, 1874-1951 person
associatedWith Meitner-Graf, Lotte. person
associatedWith Philadelphia Orchestra. corporateBody
associatedWith Prude, Walter. person
associatedWith Scherman, Alexander. person
associatedWith Sherman, Alec, 1907-1992. person
associatedWith Slonimsky, Nicolas, 1894-1995 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Music
Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
Occupation
Performer
Function

Person

Birth 1913-05-21

Death 1976-08-22

Greeks

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6pk0dv2

Ark ID: w6pk0dv2

SNAC ID: 55674546