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Music Dept. press release   Date: 4/26/12 Bookmark and Share

In Memory of Lory Wallfisch

The Smith Department of Music will present a Memorial Concert of Music and Word in memory of Pianist Lory Wallfisch, Saturday, May 5

A concert in memoriam to the late Lory Wallfisch, Iva Dee Hiatt Chair in music and professor emerita at Smith, will take place on Saturday, May 5, at 8 p.m. in Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage. The event will feature performances of works by Bach, Beethoven, Enescu, Schumann, Perera and others. Musicians and speakers will include Joan Afferica, Judith Gordon, Ron Gorevic, Greg Hayes, Monica Jakuc Leverett, Barry Keating, Nancy Morgan, James Nicolson, Sergiu Schwarz, Hans-Martin Ulbrich, and Paul Wallfisch. A reception will follow.

In 1964 Lory Wallfisch joined the Smith community, where she often lectured on composer George Enescu, with whom she was personally acquainted. Wallfisch toured North America and Europe with the George Enescu Chamber Players, and was one of the founding members of the George Enescu Society of the United States. When she was in her 90s Wallfisch released what became a critically acclaimed CD, Lory Wallfisch Remembers: A Festival of Romanian Music, and her translation (Romanian to English) of the definitive book Masterworks of George Enescu, by Pascal Bentoiu, was published shortly before her death, by the University of Illinois Press. Please join the Smith Community in celebrating the life of this wonderfully talented woman.

Lory Wallfisch

Lory Wallfisch was born in Ploiesti, Romania, in 1922 and received her musical training at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Bucharest, where she was a piano student of the renowned Florica Muzicescu, (also the teacher of Dinu Lipatti and Radu Lupu). In 1944 she married Ernst Wallfisch, and from then on her career was linked to that of her husband and artistic partner for the next 35 years. Yehudi Menuhin heard them perform in Bucharest and helped them immigrate to the United States. They became U.S. citizens in 1953. When Menuhin received the Kennedy Center Honor in 1986, it was Lory who wrote the tribute and presented him with the award.

As pianist and harpsichordist of the internationally acclaimed Wallfisch Duo, Lory Wallfisch performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, North Africa, and Israel, occasionally performing chamber music with other artists and also appearing as soloist, including concerts with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, The Camerata Lysy, (at the Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires), The Baltimore Symphony, The Houston Symphony, and all the major orchestras of Romania. She appeared on television in the U.S. and Europe, including twice on the legendary "Les Grands Enterpretes" series in France, as well as countless sessions for most of the European national radio networks and NPR in the U.S. Wallfisch also participated in the music festivals of Edinburgh, York, Venice, Besancon and numerous Menuhin Festivals in Gstaad, Switzerland, and Casals Festivals in Prades, France.

Lory joined the Smith faculty, together with her late husband, in 1964. Her teaching activity included master classes in Argentina, The Guild Hall in London, and residencies at the Menuhin School in England and the Menuhin Academy in Switzerland. Her lecture performances were often devoted to George Enescu, whom she had the privilege of knowing personally. She presented the oeuvre of the Romanian composer at many American colleges and universities, including the Julliard School, The University of Maryland; and around the world at various congresses of the “European Piano Teacher’s Association,” The Sydney Conservatory of Music, Australia; Fundacion San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and at the Sorbonne in Paris. She has served on the jury of several international piano competitions and beginning in 2002, her birth city of Ploesti declared a "Lory Wallfisch Day" and initiated the “Lory Wallfisch International Piano Competition.“

Lory Wallfisch was one of the founding members and executive secretary of the George Enescu Society of the United States, formed in observance of the great master's centennial celebration in 1981. With the George Enescu Chamber Players, she toured North America and Europe, including performances at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and Wigmore Hall, London. In the 1990s, together with the pianists Julian Musafia and Mihail Horia, she gave the first performances since the composer's death of the then unpublished Sinfonia Concertante for two pianos and string orchestra by Dinu Lipatti, including appearances with the Rumanian National Radio Orchestra, Bucharest, the Deutsches Kammerphilormanie under the direction of Johannes Goritzki, and the New World Symphony with Neal Stulberg.

Beginning in the 1950s, Lory Wallfisch made recordings for the Odeon, Fonit, Vox-Turnabout, Da Camera, Advance, Concert Hall Society and Musical Heritage labels. In 2004, well into her ninth decade, The Beyer Music Group released her critically acclaimed CD entitled Lory Wallfisch Remembers: A Festival of Romanian Music, comprised mostly of newly recorded, solo-piano works recorded on the stage at Sage Hall.

Her translation (Romanian to English) of the definitive book Masterworks of George Enescue, by Pascal Bentoiu, was published shortly before her death by the University of Illinois Press.

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