Gabrielle L’Hôte was born in Marseilles. She studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Marguerite Long, winning a medal in the preparatory class; and with Louis Diémer, winning a premier prix in 1918, and the Pagès Prize, an important prize for women only, in 1923. She also received guidance from Fauré, Ravel, Moszkowski and Schmitt. In 1921 she married the pianist Robert Casadesus whom she had met in the class of Diémer and they formed a famous piano duo team. In 1934 they gave the première of Robert’s Concerto for Two Pianos in Warsaw and a year later played the Concerto for Two Pianos in E flat K. 365 by Mozart under the direction of Bruno Walter. Later she often appeared with her husband and son, Jean, in works for three pianos by Bach, Mozart and Robert Casadesus. Gaby Casadesus also had a solo career independent from her work with her husband. She taught at the Mozarteum Summer Academy in Salzburg, the Schola Cantorum in Paris, the Académie Maurice Ravel in Saint-Jean de Luz, and the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, where her husband was director from 1946 to 1952. After the death of her husband and son Jean in 1972, Gaby Casadesus kept the name of her husband alive in many ways, but primarily by setting up in 1975 the Robert Casadesus International Piano Competition in Cleveland, Ohio. She published Mes noces musicales in 1989 and Ma technique quotidienne in 1992.
Gaby Casadesus made many recordings with her husband for Columbia. Much of the standard duet repertoire was recorded, including works by Fauré, Ravel, Satie, Milhaud, Chabrier, Schmitt, Bartók, Schubert, Mozart, and Debussy.
However, she did make recordings as a soloist, primarily for French Polydor at the end of the 78rpm era, and some of these appeared on LP in America on the Vox label. With orchestra there are a few piano concertos by Mozart with Eugène Bigot and Paul Paray, and Fauré’s Ballade Op. 19 for Piano and Orchestra (a work premièred by her husband Robert) with the Lamoureux Orchestra and Manuel Rosenthal. Of solo piano works there appeared twelve of Mendelssohn’s Lieder ohne Worte, Chopin’s four impromptus and some Ravel including Jeux d’eau and Oiseaux tristes from Miroirs. Recordings of chamber music have also appeared on LP on the Delta and Nixa labels: the Violin Sonata No. 2 in E minor by Fauré where Gaby Casadesus partners Daniel Guilet, and a delightful performance of Fauré’s Piano Quartet Op. 15 with the Guilet Quartet.
After the death of her husband Gaby Casadesus made a disc of piano duo recordings with Philippe Entremont in 1978. It consists of works by Saint-Saëns: the Variations on a Theme of Beethoven, Polonaise Op.77 and Le Carnaval des Animaux.
© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — Jonathan Summers (A–Z of Pianists, Naxos 8.558107–10).