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Yara Bernette (Piano)

Born: March. 14, 1920 - Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Died: March 30, 2002 - São Paulo, Brazil

The Jewish American-born Brazilian pianist, Yara Bernette (Bernette Epstein), was born in Boston to a Russian immigrant family with a strong musical background. The family moved to Brazil when she was six months old. She began to study the piano at the age of 6 with her uncle, Professor José Kliass, pupil of Martin Krause, who in turn had been the pupil and secretary of Franz Liszt, and who was one of the most important musical figures in São Paulo at the time. In 1938

Yara Bernette made her professional debut in a concert with the Municipal Symphony Orchestra and in 1949 made her first appearance in the USA at the New York Town Hall, encouraged by maestros Arthur Rubinstein and Claudio Arrau. The American tour continued through Canada and Latin America: Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia and Argentina. Her European debut was in 1955, when she played in Paris with the Orchestre du Conservatoire de Paris, directed by the Brazilian maestro and composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. On the same tour, she also played in Vienna, Amsterdam and London, where she was presented with the Arnold Bax Memorial Award as the best musical interpreter of the year. From 1957 to 1970 she gave numerous recitals and concerts throughout Europe, playing as a soloist with the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Philharmoniker Hamburg, and also played in the Far East. In 1961 she represented Brazil in the Second Inter-American Music Festival in Washington, playing Camargo Guarnieri’s Variations on a Theme from the Northeast of Brazil for Piano and Orchestra with the Rochester Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to being a concert pianist in demand throughout the world, Yara Bernette was also a teacher; in 1972 she was chosen from among 130 candidates as piano teacher at the Hamburg Music and Performing Arts School, where she remained for 20 years, supervising students from many countries like United States, England, Switzerland, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Israel, Rumania and many Brazilians.. In the USA she was a jury member in important competitions such as the Van Cliburn International Competition.

To commemorate her 75th birthday Yara Bernette recorded her Portrait for German television, broadcast throughout Germany on August 20, 1995. The commemorations were followed by a recital in Hamburg in which her ex-pupils from the Hochschule took part. In Brazil Yara Bernette frequently played in the main cities. She died in São Paulo in March 2002. Known throughout her career for playing modern and contemporary composers, she played music from the Classical and Romantic periods with the same skill. She recorded for Deutsche Grammophon.

Source: Jewish Women's Archive (Authors: Anat Falbel and Nachman Falbel); Find a Grave Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (October 2011)

Yara Bernette: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Yara Bernette 1920-2002 (Jewish Women's Archive)

Yara (Bernette Epstein) Bernette (Find a Grave)

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Last update: żOctober 27, 2011 ż12:29:12