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The Rachmaninoff-Bachauer Myth

Your lead paragraph for the article “Bachauer Winners Search for Truth Between the Notes” (Juilliard Journal, September 2010) is totally false. Gina Bachauer never studied with Rachmaninoff, and Rachmaninoff never taught her.

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This myth was laid to rest years ago by Howard Taubman. In his book The Pleasure of Their Company, Taubman, then the music editor for The New York Times, describes how he had asked the music critic Harold Schonberg to interview Bachauer for the Sunday paper. “We were interested in discovering her musical background. Harold reported that she said she had studied with Rachmaninoff. I got an indignant call from the Russian pianist’s family and agreed to receive a visit from Rachmaninoff’s widow and his daughter. They came to complain in Harold’s presence that Rachmaninoff had never taught Bachauer. We listened to their protest and promised to publish a few lines carrying their denial. ... They left content with the promise of a correction. I never heard from the Rachmaninoff family again.”

Ely Haimowitz 
(B.S. ’51, M.S. ’52, piano)

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