S0780. MYRIAM SOLOVIEFF, w.Julius Katchen (Pf.): Fantasy in C (Schubert), Live Performance, 27 Sept., 1959; w.Tasso Janopoulo (Pf.): Vivaldi, Mozart, Ysaye, Kreisler, Bloch, Ravel & Bartok Recital, Live Performance, 11 March, 1963, Musée d'Orsay, Paris. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-1089. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"Miriam (or Myriam) Solovieff (1921-2004) had an extraordinary life. She was born in San Francisco and began to study the piano but after the epiphany of hearing the ten-year old wunderkind Ruggiero Ricci in 1928, she asked to be able to learn the violin. She was a pupil of Robert Pollak, then Carol Weston – who was the teaching assistant of the leading Canadian fiddler, Kathleen Parlow - and then, for four years, Parlow herself. Her first appearance with orchestra came in 1932 when she performed two movements of Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole with the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Basil Cameron. Artur Rodzinski duly invited her to Los Angeles. Further studies followed with Louis Persinger, the teacher of Ricci and Menuhin, and then a year in Belgium with Carl Flesch. She returned home to America in November 1939. A few weeks later, between Christmas and New Year, her father, estranged from her mother, shot and killed his wife and Miriam’s twelve-year old sister Vivienne and then killed himself. He had begun the spree by shooting at Miriam but had missed. The war curtailed her career but she married and resumed playing and touring in late 1945, playing across Europe, including visits to concentration camps to play there. She moved to Paris in the 1950s, taught, performed, but had a breakdown in the early 1960s. Thereafter her performing career seems to have trailed off although she did teach. She died in Paris in 2004.
The story is thus one of initial brilliance, a charmed childhood prodigy in the mould of Guila Bustabo or of Ricci, her fellow San Franciscan, followed by years of study with two of the world’s great teachers – Persinger and Flesch. Thereafter came family tragedy and the disruption of the War, followed by exposure to European horrors, and a traumatic breakdown.
Solovieff made few commercial recordings. So far as I’m aware she did make one 78, with sweetmeats by Chaminade, Kreisler and Debussy, on the Cupol label. In Vienna she taped the Lalo Concerto in F with Swoboda, with whom she also recorded Schubert’s Rondo. She recorded the three Brahms sonatas with Julius Katchen in the early 1960s but it was at these sessions that she suffered her breakdown. There is some conflicting information about this.”
- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWebInternational
“Myriam Solovieff (1921-2004) was a San Francisco musical phenomenon who had been mightily impressed by the 1928 debut of the young Ruggiero Ricci, aged ten. A natural prodigy, Myriam came to the attention of both Basil Cameron and Artur Rodzinski, the latter of whom pronounced her ‘a child who offers wonderful possibilities for the future. She has so much already - tone, technique, and understanding - that I qualify her without hesitation as a matured artist now, and it was on this basis that I selected her to play with the [Los Angeles] Philharmonic’.”
- Gary Lemco, Audiophile Audition