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Gina Bachauer papers

Identifier: MSS 7920

Scope and Contents

Collection contains personal and professional correspondence from Gina Bachauer, publicity and personal photographs, programs, clippings, articles, and other publicity materials for Gina Bachauer performances, itineraries, contracts, financial records and other administrative records concerning Gina Bachauer's career as a concert pianist, personal belongings and audio recordings of her work, and diaries and appointment books recording her daily activities, 1898, 1928-1989.


  • 1898
  • 1928-1989


Language of Materials

The materials are in English and Greek.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Gina Bachauer papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical history

Gina Bachauer (1913-1976) was a world renowned Greek pianist who performed many times with the Utah Symphony.

Gina Bachauer was born May 21, 1913, in Athens, Greece. She began piano lessons at age five after attending a concert of Emil Sauer. When she was nine years old, the Polish pianist Woldemar Freeman settled in Greece and after hearing her play took her on as a student. She worked seriously with him until she finished her studies at the Athens Conservatory when she was sixteen years old, winning the Gold Medal in 1929.

Woldemar Freeman wanted her to go to Paris to work with Cortot, and to learn the ways of French music. Her parents paid for her to attend the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, where she studied for three years under Alfred Cortot. During her studies, she met Sergei Rachmaninoff, from whom she received virtually the only lessons he taught after his self-imposed exile from Russia.

When Bachauer's funds ran out, she returned to Greece to try to make a living as a pianist. Her debut in 1935 with the Athens Orchestra under Mitropoulos did not launch her performing career as she had hoped, so she taught at the Athens Conservatory until she had saved up enough money to embark on a concert tour of Europe. However, World War II broke out during her tour, and she was left stranded in Cairo for its duration. Bachauer became a "kind of pianist-in-ordinary" for the Allied troops in the area, playing roughly 630 recitals in camps and hospitals. While in Egypt, she also married John Christodoulo, who died suddenly in 1950.

After the war, Bachauer traveled to London where she was introduced to orchestra conductor Alec Sherman, who engaged her as a soloist. The two eventually married, and Sherman gave up part of his career to become her manager, saying there are many conductors, but only one Gina Bachauer.

Bachauer's London debut was at the Albert Hall in 1947, and her New York debut was at Carnegie Hall in 1950. She also gave the first solo recital, as Founding Artist, in Washington D.C.'s Kennedy Center. She maintained a demanding concert schedule, playing 110 to 120 concerts a year on six-month tours alternating between the USA and the rest of the world.

Gina Bachauer was often regarded as the greatest female pianist of the twentieth century. A student of Cortot and Rachmaninoff, she enjoyed a long and successful performing career, and wooed the toughest of critics with her Romantic repertoire. She developed a close bond with the people of Utah and performed frequently with the Utah Symphony under Maurice Abravanel. On one occasion, Bachauer played with the Symphony accompanied by her pupil, Her Royal Highness Princess Irene of the Hellenes. She helped make their first international tour a reality in 1966 when the symphony traveled to Greece, Yugoslavia, Austria, Germany, and England. Due to this bond, her legacy lives on in Utah in the form of the Gina Bachauer Archives and the Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation.

Gina Bachauer died in Athens on August 22, 1976. Brigham Young University was the first home of the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition.


89 boxes (44.5 linear ft.)

13 cartons (13 linear ft.)


Arranged into six series: 1. Gina Bachauer correspondence, 1948-1981. 2. Gina Bachauer photographs, undated. 3. Gina Bachauer publicity materials, 1898, 1943-1988. 4. Gina Bachauer administrative records, 1936-1989. 5. Gina Bachauer artifacts and audio recordings, undated. and 6. Gina Bachauer diaries, 1928-1985.

Custodial History

Donated by Alec Sherman posthumously in his will in 1989.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Alec Sherman; 1989.


Prominent pianist (Section IV.a.i.2 Music Special Collections Development Policy September 2010).

Processing Information

Processed; Elizabeth West; August 2011.

Register of the Gina Bachauer papers
Elizabeth West
2011 August
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States