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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BABIN, VICTOR - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BABIN, VICTOR (13 Dec. 1908-1 Mar. 1972), pianist, composer, and teacher, was the director of the CLEVELAND INSTITUTE OF MUSIC for 11 years. Born in Moscow, son of Heinrich and Rosalie (Wolk) Babin, he studied in Riga before studying composition with Franz Schrecker and piano with Artur Schnabel in Berlin at the Hochschule fur Musik. He came to the U.S. in 1937 and taught at the Aspen School of Music in Colorado, which he also directed; the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood, Mass.; and the CLEVELAND INSTITUTE OF MUSIC, becoming director there in 1961. As director, Babin brought distinguished musicians to the CIM faculty, broadened the course offerings, and established a cooperative relationship between CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY and the Institute. He was made an adjunct professor at the university in 1969.

In 1933 Babin married another Schnabel student, Vitya Vronsky (see VICTORIA VRONSKY BABIN†). They formed probably the best-known duo-piano team of their day. Their U.S. premiere was in New York in 1937, and they continued an active concert and recording career throughout their married life. A planned European tour was canceled by Babin's death in 1972. Babin's compositions included concerti for 2 pianos and orchestra, chamber music, and songs. A song cycle, "Beloved Stranger," was set to texts by Witter Bynner. Babin was honored with the Cleveland Women's City Club Music Award and received an honorary Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico. The Babins had no children.

Grossman, F. Karl. A History of Music in Cleveland (1972).

Last Modified: 11 Jul 1997 02:01:41 PM

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