New York Times

Tuesday, 12 June 2001

Yaltah Menuhin, 79, Pianist in Musical Family

Yaltah, a pianist and the younger sister of the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, died on Saturday, The Times of London reported. The Times did not report where she died. She was 79.

Ms Menuhin, the youngest of the three Menuhin siblings, who all became prominent musicians, was born in San Francisco in October 1921. She grew up traveling the world with her family as Yehudi, who was five and a half years her senior, established his early career.

But like her older sister, Hephzibah, she was attracted to the piano rather than the violin. Ms Menuhin's teachers included Marcel Ciampi, in Paris; Armando Silvestri, in Rome; and Carl Friedberg, at the Juilliard School in New York. Occasionally she performed with her brother as an accompanist and chamber music parner, and she sometimes played piano duets with her sister as well.

At Yehudi Menuhin's 50th-birthday concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London in 1966, he conducted a performance of the Mozart concerto for three piano's in which the soloists were Hephzibah, Yaltah and Jeremy, his son.

Ms Menuhin performed regularly as both a soloist and a chamber player. In 1951 she made a joint New York debut with Israel Baker, the violinist. She also performed with Michael Mann, a violist and the son of Thomas Mann. And in the 1960's she began a piano duo with her husband Joel Ryce. Mr. Ryce died in 1998. An earlier marriage, to Benjamin Rolfe, ended in divorce.

Ms Menuhin is survived by two sons, Robert and Lionel Rolfe.

Although she had retired from the concert stage, Ms Menuhin gave occasional performances in recent years. Her last, on Wednesday, was at the Orwell Park School in Ipswich, England, where she played a program of Chopin and Debussy Preludes.

Allan Kozinn

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