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Clara Haskil (1895 - 1960)

Haskil’s parents were cultivated Sephardic Jews, and her aunt (her mother’s sister) had gained a first prize in piano at the Bucharest Conservatory at the age of eighteen, but died from tuberculosis at twenty. Clara too, one of three musical daughters, suffered from ill health all her life. A precociously gifted child who could play back by ear works she had heard her sisters playing, Clara received her first piano lesson from her mother at the age of three in 1899. Her father died that same year, and two years later at the age of six, she entered the Bucharest Conservatory. A year later, aged only seven, the young child was taken to Vienna by her uncle Avram Moscuna where she played for pianist Anton Door who was so impressed he published an article about her. Haskil began to study with Richard Robert (the teacher of Rudolf Serkin and George Szell) and spent much of her time at the Roberts’ home. At her public debut the eight-year-old played Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A major K. 488 accompanied by a second piano. After she had spent three years with Robert, Haskil’s uncle decided that she should go to the Paris Conservatoire to study. Having already been uprooted from her mother and sisters at the age of seven, she thus, after a happy period with the Roberts, now had to leave them as well.



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