Born in Paris, Restout studied drawing, geometry, art history and painting at the Bazot Studios, and was admitted to the School of Applied Arts of Paris in 1928. Restout received the first medal of the National Conservatory of Music (Paris) in 1930. Restout worked for a time at the Pleyel Company factory in France. In 1933 she began study of the harpsichord with Wanda Landowska and the organ with Joseph Bonnet. As a performer Restout appeared at Landowska's public master classes in France and the Netherlands and in recitals in Paris, Strasbourg and elsewhere.
Restout and Landowska, who was of Polish and Jewish origin, escaped Saint-Leu-la-Forêt, France during the Nazi advance in 1940 and arrived in the United States in 1941 at Ellis Island on the day of the Pearl Harbor attack.
Harpsichordist Wanda Landowska, at home posing for picture with friends, 1949 (Denise Restout on the right)
Wanda Landowska was a Polish harpsichordist whose performances played a large role in reviving the popularity of the harpsichord in XX century. When the German Army invaded France, Landowska, who was Jewish, fled with her assistant and domestic partner Denise Restout, leaving Saint-Leu in 1940, sojourning in southern France, and finally sailing from Lisbon to the United States. Her house was looted, and her instruments and manuscripts stolen, so she arrived in the US essentially without assets.
When Landowska died on August 16, 1959, Restout inherited her estate including her papers and collection of musical instruments. She continued to teach at the Landowska Center, their home in Lakeville, Connecticut until her death. In 1964 she published, with Robert Hawkins of The Hotchkiss School, Landowska on Music, a collection of Landowska's writings on music, which included material from Musique ancienne which Restout translated into English from the original French, and many of the master-class notes that Restout had saved during their flight from France.
Restout was a member of the faculties (at large) of the Barlow School in Amenia, NY, the Peabody Conservatory of Music, the Hartt School, University of Southern Mississippi, and Purchase College.
Later in life, Restout was organist at St. Mary's Roman Catholic church in Lakeville, Connecticut.
Restout was awarded the Amicus Poloniae citation by the government of Poland.
Wanda Alexandra Landowska (5 July 1879 – 16 August 1959) was a Polish (later a naturalized French citizen) harpsichordist whose performances, teaching, recordings and writings played a large role in reviving the popularity of the harpsichord in the early 20th century. She was the first person to record Johann Sebastian Bach's Goldberg Variations on the harpsichord (1931). When the German Army invaded France, Landowska, who was Jewish, fled with her assistant and domestic partner Denise Restout, leaving Saint-Leu in 1940, sojourning in southern France, and finally sailing from Lisbon to the United States. She arrived in New York on 7 December 1941, a day which coincided with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The house in Saint-Leu was looted, and her instruments and manuscripts stolen, so she arrived in the United States essentially without assets.
She settled in Lakeville, Connecticut in 1949, and re-established herself as a performer and teacher in the United States, touring extensively. Her companion, Denise Restout, was editor and translator of her writings on music, including Musique ancienne, and Landowska on Music. She died at in Lakeville on 16 August 1959.
Landowska was born in Warsaw, where her father was a lawyer, and her mother a linguist who translated Mark Twain into Polish. She began playing piano at the age of four, and studied at the Warsaw Conservatory with the senior Jan Kleczyński and Aleksander Michałowski. She also studied composition under Heinrich Urban in Berlin, and had lessons in Paris with Moritz Moszkowski. After marrying the Polish folklorist Henry Lew in 1900 in Paris, she taught piano at the Schola Cantorum there (1900–1912).
Leonid Pasternak. Concert of Wanda Landowska in Moscow (1907), a pastel from the Tretyakov Gallery
She later taught harpsichord at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik (1912–1919). Deeply interested in musicology, and particularly in the works of Bach, Couperin and Rameau, she toured the museums of Europe looking at original keyboard instruments; she acquired old instruments and had new ones made at her request by Pleyel and Company. These were large, heavily-built harpsichords with a 16-foot stop (a set of strings an octave below normal pitch) and owed much to piano construction. 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 (Master Peter's Puppet Show) marked the return of the harpsichord to the modern orchestra. De Falla later wrote a harpsichord concerto for her, and Francis Poulenc composed his Concert champêtre for her.
She established the École de Musique Ancienne at Paris in 1925: from 1927, her home in Saint-Leu-la-Forêt became a center for the performance and study of old music.
A Camera Three series program entitled Reminiscences of Wanda Landowska aired 17 March 1963 on CBS. It was a dramatization of some writings of Landowska as read by Agnes Moorehead.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=e
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=e
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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