The Swiss-born American conductor and violinist, Blanche Honegger Moyse, began violin studies at the age of 8 and shortly thereafter became a student of the great German violinist Adolf Busch. At the age of 16 she earned first prize in violin at the Geneva Conservatory and made her debut with L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under Fritz Busch, performing the L.v. Beethoven's
Violin Concerto to critical acclaim.
Blanche Moyse moved to Paris where she continued her distinguished musical education with such musical giants as violinist-composer George Enescu, harpsichordist Wanda Landowska, guitarist Andrés Segovia as well as Adolf Busch. In addition she served on the faculty of Neuchatel Conservatory of Music in her native country.
Prior to World War II, the young violinist married concert pianist Louis Moyse. Shortly thereafter the Moyse Trio, consisting of Marcel, the pre-eminent flutist of the era, Louis and Blanche Moyse, was formed. Acclaimed as one of the most "perfect" ensembles of the day, the trio's many awards included the International Grand Prix du Disques, the ultimate recording prize. At the end of World War II, the Moyse Trio left a devastated France for a promised new music school in South America, but the school failed to materialize.
The Moyses moved to Vermont in 1949, at the invitation of Adolf and Hermann Busch and Rudolf Serkin, and with them founded the Marlboro Music Festival. At the same time, Mme. Moyse established the music department of the fledgling Marlboro College, and served as its chairman for the next 25 years. In these capacities she has been colleague, teacher, coach and friend of many of the premier musicians of our day.
In response to the musical wasteland that typified the long winters of southern Vermont in those years, Blanche Moyse established the Brattleboro Music Center in 1951. Her vision, "to promote the love and understanding of good music and to make it a vital part of the community," was realized with the establishment of a diverse combination of performance and education programs. Today as its artistic director, Moyse continues to play a strong role in the Center's programs which include the heralded Blanche Moyse Chorale, a music school with a faculty of 30 and 400 students of all ages, levels and abilities, a chamber series and orchestra for the area's amateur musicians.
Forced by a bow-arm ailment to retire as a violinist (her last performance at the Marlboro Music Festival was in 1966), Moyse proceeded to dedicate the majority of her time to the study and performance of the choral works of J.S. Bach. In 1969 the New England Bach Festival was born. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1978, at age 78, conducting the Chorale and the Orchestra of St. Luke's in J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248). The New York Times cited “an absolutely glorious rendition of Bach’s ‘Christmas Oratorio.’ Even after three hours on stage the conductor seemed vigorous enough to start over again.”
Blanche Moyse is regularly invited to teach singers, instrumentalists and chamber musicians around the world, including Japan, France, Switzerland, China, Canada, and throughout the USA. She continues to devote the majority of her time to the study and performance of J.S. Bach's works, but despite her national and international acclaim, Mme. Moyse remains rooted to her community and committed to the cultural life and musical growth of its professional and amateur musicians through the many programs of the Brattleboro Music Center.
Blanche Honegger Moyse was active well into her nineties, and continued to be involved with Blanche Moyse Chorale, a music school with a faculty of 30 and 400 students. An internationally known figure in the New England classical music scene for more than half a century, she died at her home in Brattleboro on February 10, 2011. She was 101.