BABIN, VICTORIA (VITYA) VRONSKY (August 22, 1909-June 28, 1992) was a distinguished pianist and teacher long associated with the CLEVELAND INSTITUTE OF MUSIC (CIM). A native of Yevpatoria in the Russian Crimea, she was the daughter of Michel and Sophia Blinkoff Vronsky. Graduating from the Kiev Conservatory of Music at fifteen, she went to Berlin to study piano under Artur Schnabel, whose students at the time also included another Russian, VICTOR BABIN†. Vronsky appeared as a soloist with the leading orchestras and conductors of Europe before marrying Babin in 1933. As half of the piano duo of Vronsky and Babin, she toured and recorded extensively for the next quarter century, making her American debut in 1937.
When Babin came to Cleveland as CIM director in 1961, Vronsky accompanied him as a member of the piano faculty and as an artist in residence. Dividing their time between a summer home in New Mexico and a SHAKER HEIGHTS apartment, they maintained friendships with such artists and musicians as Marc Chagall, Darius Milhaud, and Igor Stravinsky. After Babin's death, Vronsky remained at CIM as Distinguished Professor of Piano and, from 1977-1985, head of the Piano Department. She began playing again in 1975, performing one of her husband's compositions with his successor as CIM director, Grant Johannesen. She was awarded the rank of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Humanities by the French government in 1972 and served as a judge for the Robert Casadesus International Piano Competition (see CLEVELAND INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION). Childless, she died in her Shaker Heights apartment in 1992.Last Modified: 24 Mar 2006 01:17:46 PM