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Felicja Blumental (1908 - 1991)

Felicja Blumental’s father was a violinist and her sister a singer. She began to study the piano at the age of five with Joseph Goldberg and first appeared in public at the age of ten. She then won a scholarship to study at the Warsaw Conservatory with Zbigniew Drzewiecki, one of the founders of the International Chopin Competition. She also studied composition there with Karol Szymanowski. After her studies in Warsaw, Blumental went to Switzerland to study further with Jósef Turczyński.

In 1935 Blumental married, and three years later went to live in Nice. However, the mounting pressure brought upon Jews by the Nazis caused the Blumental family to travel to Brazil in 1940. In order to remain there, Blumental took Brazilian citizenship. She became a vital part of Brazilian musical life and formed a close association with composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. He was so impressed with her performance of his Bachianas Brasileiras No. 3 in 1954 that he wrote his Piano Concerto No. 5 for her, which she performed at the Royal Festival Hall in London in May 1956 with Jean Martinon and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.



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