Josette Lavergne

Josette Lavergne was born in Ostend (Belgium) on 7 April 1921. Her talent for music appears early on and she chooses to become a violinist. Her father, who was a soldier, was not very happy with the choice of his daughter, but his objection did not stand in the way of a professional education. From 1935 to 1938 she was a student at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels, where she followed violin in the class of Alfred Dubois (1898-1949). Then she went to study in Ghent with Henry Gadeyne (1894-1965). Gadeyne was her former violin teacher at the City Conservatory in Ostend. In Ghent she also obtained in 1941 a First Prize in Chamber Music and a Second Prize String Quartet. Presumably, the war situation prematurely ended her further education.

Josette Lavergne as a young violinist in the courtyard in Ostend.     Student inscription card of Josette Lavergne at the Royal Conservatory Brussels.     Josette Lavergne as a young violinist in the city park of Ostend.

As a pedagogue she was active in various music academies as a violin teacher a.o. in Blankenberge and Izegem. Her main foreign activity was undoubtedly her assistantship of Josef Gingold (1909-1995) at the School of Music at Indiana University in Bloomington (US).

Josette Lavergne in Bloomington with colleague Ann Kühner.     Josette Lavergne.

The British violinist Philip Newman (1904-1966) belonged to her close circle of friends. After his death, she inherits his music collection.
She also had good contacts with Pablo Casals (1876-1973) and with Queen Elisabeth (1876-1965). A number of scores from the Lavergne collection have been donated to Josette Lavergne by the Belgian Queen.

Josette Lavergne visits queen Elisabeth at the castle of Stuyvenberg

For the greater part of her life, Josette Lavergne stays in her hometown Ostend. She passes away on August 9, 2015. For her friends and acquaintances, 'Aunt Jo' remains an inspiring woman with a boundless love for the expressive power of music.

Josette Lavergne in the harbour of Ostend.     Josette Lavergne.