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Rosina Lhevinne

For some reason now lost in the mists of time, Rosina Lhévinne’s mother Maria was not able to marry the man with whom she was in love. Instead, she married a travelling Dutchman named Jacques Bessie by whom she had two daughters: Sophie, born around 1873; and Rosina, born seven years afterwards in Kiev but taken to Moscow about a year later. In 1884 Maria saved her daughter’s life by demanding that a tracheotomy be performed to prevent the child from dying of diphtheria. This traumatic episode and the fact that Maria was not very interested in her husband made the bond between herself and Rosina very strong. Both parents were amateur pianists and when the elder daughter Sophie began lessons at home from Antonin Galli, a graduate of the Moscow Conservatory, young Rosina was always present. She began lessons herself a few years later, but her childhood was very protected by her mother.



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