October 27, 2007

October 27 | Ginette Neveu

August 11, 1919 - October 27, 1949: Age 30

Ginette Niveu made her debut as a solo concert violinist with the Colonne Orchestra in Paris at the age of 7. At the age of 9, when her teacher pointed out that he would play a passage of the Bach Chaconne rather differently, she replied "I play this music as I understand it." Her career as a touring virtuoso began in earnest in her teens, with performances in Poland, Germany, Soviet Union, the US and Canada and of course her home in France.

In 1949 she was flying to the US for a concert tour with her brother, who was her accompanist and himself a virtuoso pianist. In those days transatlantic flights routinely stopped to refuel in the Azores, but her plane had difficulties landing and, after two attempts, crashed into a mountain. It is said that her body was found clutching her Stradivarius, but this mention is marked "citation needed" in Wikipedia which probably means it's an urban legend.

The plane was also carrying French boxing champion Marcel Cerdan, who was on his way to the US for a rematch with the American Jake La Motta (Raging Bull).

Sources: Wikipedia, Legendary Violinists, Everything2.com

See her perform on YouTube.

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