She played Vocalise for Rachmaninoff

She played Vocalise for Rachmaninoff


norman lebrecht

September 15, 2023

Professor Isabelle Cazeaux died in New York this week at 97.

We have received this appreciation:
An intellectual powerhouse capable of guiding research from the earliest centuries into the modern age, her research
focused chiefly on the early centuries of French music, resulting in a monumental dissertation on Claudin de
Sermisy. Her subsequent French Music of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries (Praeger, 1975) became, for many years,
the gold standard for research in this arena. But her most enduring contribution remains the first edition of the
Chansons of Sermisy for the American Institute of Musicology (Opera omnia, vol. iii, 1974). Dr. Cazeaux taught at the
Manhattan School of Music (1969-1982), and simultaneously at Bryn Mawr College, where she taught for 29 years
and eventually chaired the Music Department.

Little known as a violinist, Dr. Cazeaux studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Yvonne Astruc, and in the United
States with Anselme Fortier (New York Philharmonic), Ivan Galamian (Juilliard) and Nicolas Averino (Boston
Symphony). She enjoyed the distinction of having performed Rachmaninov’s Vocalise for the composer and having
performed with the Trondheim Symphony on tour in Norway. She rounded out her studies by studying piano with
Kyriena Ziloti, voice with Marguerite Babaïan and composition with Alexei Haieff.

A gentle friend and colleague, an abiding, devoted mentor, she nurtured the research and careers of Paul-André
Bempéchat, Alexander Blachly, Stephen Bonime, Jeff Dailey, Tula Giannini, Christopher Gibbs, Margaret Ross
Griffel, Michael Griffel, Rabbi Daniel Katz, the late Hiroko Kishimoto, Sally C. Park, the late Virginia Raad, Susan
Shields, George Stauffer, and the late Charles W. White.

The funeral will be held at the Krtil Funeral Home next Monday at 10:00 a.m.: 1297 First Avenue at 71st Street


  • Gwyn Roberts says:

    Isabelle Cazeaux was my music professor and mentor when I was an undergraduate at Bryn Mawr, majoring in music at Haverford College. She was so inspiring. She seemed to carry an entire library in her head and could tell me not only which book would answer my question, but what chapter to go to. Twice she let me do independent study on topics in Renaissance music that interested me, and she advised me on my senior thesis. I loved going to her apartment full of cat tchochkes, where she preferred to teach, and I remember her bringing a tiny thermos of cream sherry with her to dinner in the dining hall some days, always impeccably dressed in her Chanel suits with her black hair pulled back in a bun and her cat-eye glasses. She is a large part of why I am a musician today. I was just thinking of her this week, wondering if she was still alive. And here is the answer. Wish I had reached out earlier to thank her.

  • Save the MET says:

    She was a musical legend in NYC. RIP, fair winds and following seas.