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" I was horribly scared when I met Hasselmans"

    Lily was 8 when her mother took her to Alphonse Hasselmans, a professor at the Paris Conservatoire, to ask him to give her lessons. He refused at first, because he never took beginners. Lily's mother stood up to leave, declaring that "in that case, my daughter will not play the harp". Amazed at such aplomb, he finally accepted. Three years later, Lily entered the Conservatoire. She would always be scared of the glacial professor, whom she both admired and feared. But her mother took her to each lesson to reassure her by her presence.

" Competition is the nerve of war "

    Lily Laskine says herself that her pride and no doubt her desire not to disappoint her parents, whom she admired, were powerful stimulants. She also had a competitive streak. When she entered the Conservatoire, in 1904, she was confronted with students who were sometimes older than she. One of them, almost double her age, once said to her "You don't really compare yourself with us, do you?" - but indeed, she did, and she was the best. At eleven she obtained a second prize with the concerto by Henriette Renié, and the following year, 1906, she took first prize with La Légende by Albert Zabel. She was just 13 and from then on she never took another lesson. She was her own mistress and built up her own repertoire like a genius.

" Of course, I enjoyed playing the harp, but I would really have liked to be a singer or dancer ! "

    Later on, during the First World War, she became passionately interested in singing and dancing. She was too old for dancing, and her physique was not suitable: this was made known to her. She was also a good singer. "I had a nice voice, although it was a bit thin. If I had not been a harpist, I would probably have had a decent career as a singer". She also found a third passion: harmony. She enjoyed the rigour and precision. In fact, she had eclectic tastes that were not satisfied by the harp alone. "


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