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Blanche Selva (1884 - 1942)

Blanche Selva displayed musical talents at the age of four-and-a-half. Because her father could not find a good teacher for his daughter in Brive, in 1891 he moved the family to Limoges and then to Paris, where Blanche began lessons with Sophie Chéné who prepared her for entrance to the Paris Conservatoire. Selva was admitted in 1893 to a preparatory class, and at the age of ten won a première médaille. In July 1896 the family left Paris for Geneva and on her thirteenth birthday, Selva gave her first concert in public in Lausanne. Not long after, Selva played Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor Op. 54 at the Kursaal de Montreux.

At the age of fourteen, Selva played Symphonie sur un air montagnard français by Vincent d’Indy and the following year met the composer. She went to the Schola Cantorum in Paris to study composition with d’Indy with whom she became close friends. When she was eighteen, d’Indy appointed Selva to the staff of the Schola Cantorum, where she taught piano for the next twenty years. Between her appointment at the Schola Cantorum and the outbreak of World War I, Selva performed in Belgium, Switzerland, England, and, in 1908, toured Russia with d’Indy. In 1904 she gave seventeen recitals in Paris in which she performed the complete solo keyboard works of Bach.




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