Sarasate Letters: Beloved Mother

T17530_Pablo de Sarasate, Spanish violinist & composer   c 1863_extend

During a two-year concert tour of America, violinist Pablo Sarasate corresponded with his adoptive mother Amélie de Lassabathie in Paris. His surviving letters have been translated for the first time into English by Nicholas Sackman and Bastien Terraz, who present a digest of their contents

Pablo Sarasate was born on 10 March 1844 in Pamplona, Spain. Demonstrating an extraordinary facility for playing the violin, he was sent for tuition at the Madrid Conservatoire. In 1855 it was decided that he should complete his studies at the Paris Conservatoire with Jean-Delphin Alard. In July of that year he set off for the French capital with his mother, whose sudden death during the journey led to him being welcomed into the Paris home of conservatoire administrator Théodore de Lassabathie and his wife, Amélie. The couple, being childless, treated Sarasate as the son they never had. He referred to Amélie as his ‘mother’, and Amélie referred to him as ‘the Baby’. In 1857 the conservatoire awarded Sarasate a premier prix for violin.

Already subscribed? Please sign in

Subscribe to continue reading…

We’re delighted that you are enjoying our website. For a limited period, you can try an online subscription to The Strad completely free of charge.

  • Free 7-day trial

    Not sure about subscribing? Sign up now to read this article in full and you’ll also receive unlimited access to premium online content, including the digital edition and online archive for 7 days.

    No strings attached – we won’t ask for your card details

  • Subscribe 

    No more paywalls. To enjoy the best in-depth features and analysis from The Strad’s latest and past issues, upgrade to a subscription now. You’ll also enjoy regular issues and special supplements* and access to an online archive of issues back to 2010.


* Issues and supplements are available as both print and digital editions. Online subscribers will only receive access to the digital versions.