Despite constant pain from scoliosis and a tumor on her optic nerve, pianist Clara Haskil became renowned for the purity and delicacy of her interpretations of Mozart and other classical composers. An early prodigy, Haskil spent a year at the Bucharest Conservatory in 1901. Her uncle Avram then took her to Vienna, where she trained for three years with Richard Robert. She entered the Paris Conservatoire at age 10 in 1905 and graduated in 1910, although her debut concert tour across Europe was interrupted by her scoliosis, which required that she spend four years in a nursing home, confined by a cast. She resumed performing in 1921, struggling with her physical limitations with the help of her family. In 1941, she had a tumor removed from her eye, which left her plagued by headaches for the rest of her life. Despite her physical challenges, she performed with many of the great musicians and under the great conductors of her time, and was awarded the French Légion d’Honneur. Although primarily known for her piano playing, she also briefly studied violin and occasionally traded instruments with great violinists for duets while they played on her piano. She died suddenly, from injuries sustained in a fall at a train station in Brussels. In 1965, five years after her death, the Clara Haskil International Piano Competition was created in her honor.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Clara Haskil." (Viewed on November 17, 2017) <https://jwa.org/people/haskil-clara>.