“The Steinway piano is a source of great musical joy to me, because of its powerful resources. These resources are of enormous help to all pianists in reaching their artistic objectives.”
Rosina Lhévinne (1880-1976) was a pianist and famed pedagogue. Among her students were many of the best young pianists of the 1940s, 50s and 60s, including Van Cliburn. She was a virtuoso performer who delayed a solo career until age seventy-six, twelve years after the death of her husband, pianist Josef Lhévinne.
During the first year of their marriage, the Lhévinnes made their two-piano debut in Moscow. Rosina decided to abandon her solo career and devote all of her musical energies to the support her husband’s. Lhévinne did not resume her own solo performing career until 1956. That year she performed with the Aspen Festival Orchestra. During the following seasons she performed with orchestras around the country. In January of 1963, a few months before her eighty-third birthday, Lhévinne performed Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor—the same work she had played at her debut sixty-one years earlier—in four performances with the New York Philharmonic, to great critical acclaim.
In a tribute to Lhévinne after her death in 1976, Peter Mennin, then the president of the Juilliard School, said, “She was quite simply one of the greatest teachers of this century. With her passing, a whole concept of teaching and performing goes with her.”