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Helene Covatti was born in Athens, her mother was a painter and father a diplomat at the Romanian embassy. At the age of 15, she came to France and entered the Conservatoire de Paris, where she studied harmony with Paul Fauchet, counterpoint and fugue with Noel Gallon and composition with Jean Roger-Ducasse. She obtained her Prizes in harmony (1934), counterpoint and fugue (1937), the Halphen Prize of composition for her Sonata for Piano and Violin, with the personal congratulations of Arthur Honegger. A second version of this work appeared for Piano and Viola, as well as various sets of lieder and pieces for piano and violin, gathered in two sets titled: Apollo & Daphne.
During and after World War II, she taught at the Conservatory (assistant of Georges Hugon, of Marcelle Soulages, later on she became acting professor and, for piano, assistant professor for singers). Besides, she assisted and tutored students in harmony and counterpoint. Her works were performed already in 1938 with interpreters like the singer Speranza Calo Seailles, later at the French Radio, with the singer Elen Dosia, of the Paris Opera and the violonist Lucia Artopoulos at Gaveau Hall.“I would like to know the complete work of Helene Covatti. Her music is full of a remarkable vitality” (Les Nouvelles Litteraires, 1946).
She is the wife of the composer Robert Dussaut, Premier Grand Prix de Rome, and mother of the pianist Therese Dussaut; some of her students have become well known, such as the Romanian violonist Stephane Gheorghiu, the conductor Dimitri Chorafas, the pianist Valentin Gheorghiu, the (then architect) composer Iannis Xenakis, whom she oriented to Olivier Messiaen’s class.
The CD «Dussaut, Musique de Chambre» (Azur Classical label) presents works of Hélène Covatti-Dussaut and Robert Dussaut. Please visit http://www.dussaut-covatti.fr and its updates.
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