Born: May 21, 1913 - Athens, Greece
Died: August 22, 1976 - Athens, Greece
The eminent Greek-born English pianist of Austrian descent, Gina Bachauer [Greek: Τζίνα Μπαχάουερ], showed her aptitude as a pianist at age 5. She gave her first recital in Athens, at the age of 8. She entered the Athens Conservatory, where her teacher was Waldemar Freeman. She then went to Paris, where she took lessons with Alfred Cortot at the École Normale de Musique. In 1933 she won the Medal of Honor at the Vienna International Competition. Her first concert with an orchestra was in 1932, when she was 20 years old. Beteeen 1933 and 1935 she received occasional instructions from Sergei Rachmaninov in France and Switzerland.
In 1935 Gina Bachauer made her professional debut with the Athens Symhony Orchestra under the direction of Dimitri Mitropoulos. She she was also piano soloist in Paris in 1937 with Pierre Monteux. During World War 11 she lived in Alexandria, Egypt, and played 630 concerts for the Allied Forces in the Middle East. In January 1946, she made her London debut with the New London Orchestra under the direction of Alec Sherman, who became her 2nd husband. Her first American appearance took place in New York in October 1950. Only 35 people attended this concert, but she received unanimous acclaim from the critics, and her career was assured. She was also the piano teacher of Princess Irene, a close friend of Maurice Abravanel, and often appeared with the Utah Symphony Orchestra. She died of a heart attack in Athens on the day she was to appear as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C., at the Athens Festival.
The uncommon vigor of Gina Bachauer's technique suggested comparisons with Teresa Carreno. Her repertoire ranged from Mozart to Igor Stravinsky. In both standard and modern works, she displayed impeccable taste.
In 1976 the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition was founded in Salt Lake City., in honour of the famous pianist. It attracts young pianists from all over the world each year. Today the house in which Bachauer lived in the Athens suburb of Halandri still stands, neighbours with fond memories of the pianist take care of the grounds. The house is visited by numerous fans from around the world, who feed the stray cats just as Bachauer did when she was alive. In 1981 the Greek government honored the famous pianist by publishing a stamp in her honor.