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Wanda Louise Landowska
(July 5, 1879 - August 16, 1959) Poland

Wanda Landowska

Musician, composer


Wanda LandowskaBorn in Warsaw to Jewish parents, she was an outstanding player of the harpsichord (the piano "forefather" whose strings are plucked by quills, not struck by hammers), she was the main responsible for the revival of this old instrument in the 20th century.

Landowska was educated at the Warsaw Conservatory. She was also a composer and a teacher. She moved to Paris in 1900 and after teaching in Germany and Switzerland. In 1909 she wrote a book, Musique Ancienne. In 1941 she left for the United States.

Responding to criticism by fellow Bach specialist Pablo Casals, she once said: "You play Bach your way, and I'll play him 'his' way."

A number of important new works were written for her: Manuel de Falla's El retablo de maese Pedro marked the return of the harpsichord to the modern orchestra. Falla later wrote a harpsichord concerto for her, and Francis Poulenc composed his Concert champêtre for her.

Her life companion Denise Restout was editor and translator of her writings on music, including Musique ancienne , and Landowska on Music . Wanda Louise Landowska died in Lakeville, Connecticut, aged 80.


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