Jeanne Leleu  (1898 - 1979)

As a child aged 11, Jeanne Leleu gave the first performance (with Geneviève Durony) of Ma mère l'oye in 1910. After the performance she received a warm letter of praise from Ravel, saying that he had felt "la joie bien rare d'avoir entendu interpréter une œuvre assez spéciale avec le sentiment exact qui y convenait. ...Merci mille fois pour votre exécution enfantine et spirituelle..." (Orenstein [1989] letter 70)

In 1913 Ravel dedicated to her his piano piece Prélude, which she played successfully in a sight-reading competition at the Conservatoire. Writing to her then, Ravel gave her some advice: "Continuez à jouer ainsi, pour vous seule, et sans vous occuper du public. C'est d'ailleurs le plus sûr moyen d'obtenir sa faveur." (Chalupt [1956] p.101).

She was a pupil of Marguerite Long, Alfred Cortot, and Widor, and went on to win the Prix de Rome in 1923. She became a professor at the Conservatoire, and a composer of symphonic works (Transparences [1931]), ballets (Un jour d'été [1940], Nantéos [1957]), and piano works and songs.

www.maurice-ravel.net