The Daily Telegraph

Tuesday, 12 June 2001

YALTAH MENUHIN, the pianist who has died aged 79, was the last survivor of a celebrated family musical trio.

The younger sister of the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, she often appeared with him and with her elder sister the pianist Hephzibah Menuhin. They gave concerts all over the world and were particularly associated in Britain with the Bath Festival, of which Yehudi was artistic director in the 1960s.

But Yaltah was best known in America where she and her husband Joel Ryce played either as four hands at one piano or at two piano's. She also played with the violinist Michael Mann, son of the writer Thomas Mann. Her specialities were Chopin, Mozart and Mendelssohn.

Yaltah Menuhin was born in San Francisco on October 7 1921. Her parents were Russian-Jewish emigrés and named their youngest child after the Black Sea resort. She grew to dislike her tyrannical mother, who did little to encourage her musical talent. Yaltah Menuhin began to play the piano aged three and studied in Paris with Marcel Ciampi and at Juilliard in New York with Carl Friedberg. The Menuhin children were taught by governesses as they toured the world.

All three performed together on occasions, as at the Royal Festival Hall in 1966 at Yehudi's 50th birthday concert. He conducted and the sisters, with Yehudi's son Jeremy, performed Mozart's Concerto for three piano's.

Yaltah Menuhin's last recital was earlier this month at an Ipswich school; she played Chopin and Debussy. Yaltah Menuhin married first, aged 18, William Stix. She married secondly, Benjamin Rolfe. She married thirdly, in 1960, Joel Ryce. She had two sons.

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