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Pianist Yaltah Menuhin Dies

June 12, 2001

LONDON (AP) _ Pianist Yaltah Menuhin, last of three famous siblings whose musical talents brought them fame at an early age, has died at age 79.

Menuhin died Sunday at her London home, her family said. No cause of death was given.

Yaltah, the youngest, and her sister Hepzibah, also a pianist, did not achieve the international renown of their brother, the violinist Yehudi Menuhin.

But they often appeared with him in concerts around the world, including the Bath Festival in Britain, where Yehudi was artistic director in the 1960s.

Yaltah Menuhin was born Oct. 7, 1921, in San Francisco, to Russian-Jewish parents.

Like her siblings, she began studying music as a child, and moved about the world performing. Her brother was astonishing audiences with his virtuosity by the age of 7.

Yaltah Menuhin and her husband, pianist Joel Ryce, often performed together as a duo in the United States, and she also performed with violist Michael Mann.

In an obituary in The Daily Telegraph, friend Norman Lebrecht wrote that when she played, ``she gave the impression that she did so for pleasure.″

Lebrecht said Yaltah was the rebellious one in the family, and had a strained relationship with her mother, but that she remained close to her siblings.

``She brought to music a joie de vivre that was the more remarkable for the pressures that she had endured, as well as for the name she bore,″ Lebrecht said. ``Yehudi considered her performances uniquely revealing.″

Yaltah Menuhin was married briefly as a teen-ager, then secondly to Benjamin Rolfe, with whom she had two sons. They divorced, and she married Ryce in 1960.

Her sister died in 1981 and Lord Menuhin died in 1999.

Yalta Menuhin is survived by her sons. No funeral plans were immediately announced.

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