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Byron Janis (b1924)


The Polish-Russian family name of Yankilevitch was shortened to Yanks when the family emigrated to America and by the time Byron was fifteen, it had been changed again, first to Jannes and then to Janis. The parents were not musical, but by the age of five young Byron’s talent was already in evidence. He began lessons with Abraham Litow who had studied at the Moscow Conservatory, and as the child’s progress was so rapid, his parents took him to New York to play for Josef and Rosina Lhévinne. The father stayed in Pittsburgh at the family store, whilst Byron, his mother and sister moved to New York. Janis began studying with the Lhévinnes at the age of eight, but after one year their concert schedule prevented regular tuition. Eight months were spent under the tuition of Dorothea Anderson La Follette, after which the Lhévinnes decided that Janis should study with Adele Marcus. For the following six years Janis received two lessons per week from Marcus.

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