Sara Compinsky was born May 12, 1904 to Louis and Ada Compinsky, Russian immigrants to England, while traveling in Russia. She showed a talent for the piano at age two and was given her early instruction by her father. A prodigy at age 5, she won a national sight-reading contest in England. Sara received her formal musical training in London, where she was awarded the Bainbridge piano scholarship and various chamber music scholarships. Her major piano studies were with Benno Schönberger, assistant to Theodor Leschetizky. Her musical training lineage traces back to Beethoven.
With her two brothers, violinist, Manuel, and cellist, Alec, a trio was formed by their father, and he trained them in ensemble playing. The young trio, named "The Compinsky Trio" concertized widely in Europe, and was honored by command performances before King George, Queen Mary, and members of the royal family.
In 1937, Sara married Ferdinand Rosenbaum, a law student whom she met at Green Mansions, a summer resort on Lake George in New York State. For several years, the Compinskys were given vacations there in exchange for performing for the guests in the evenings.
Sara concertized as a soloist as well as with the Compinsky Trio and other noted artists, in England, Canada, and throughout America, making numerous tours throughout the United States, and giving recitals in Carnegie Hall and Town Hall in New York, and at leading colleges and universities.
For eight years, the Compinsky Trio was featured in a live performance every Sunday on the CBS radio network coast to coast and, in Los Angeles, they performed weekly live broadcasts over classical radio station, KFAC for one and a half years.
The Compinsky Trio performed their repertoire of over 40 works by memory, a challenge that was never before, or since attempted by any other ensemble. They also performed requests from their repertoire at concerts. For their artistry in ensemble work, The New York Times proclaimed them "An aristocrat among trios."
As a pianist, Sara Compinsky was praised for her highly refined technique and musicianship. Her strength, sensitivity and support, combined with her fine artistry made her the perfect partner in chamber music. She was a flawless reader, and could navigate the entire keyboard at great speed without ever looking down. This enabled her to cover vast amounts of repertoire and focus on the ensemble with her brothers.
In addition to performing with the Compinsky Trio, Sara taught private students at her home and was widely known and well loved for her gentle, encouraging style of inspiring excellence.
Sara was an honorary member of Sigma Alpha Iota. She was on the adjudicating panel for the Young Musicians’ Foundation televised concerts, and she also adjudicated for the Coleman Chamber Auditions, Santa Monica Music Guild Piano Scholarships, and West Los Angeles Music Teachers Association competitions.
She was on the faculty of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles Conservatory of Music, and the Pacific Institute of Music and Fine Art, a school that was founded by her brother, Alec. She was later affiliated with Mt. St. Mary’s College and taught privately in her home for many years.
In 1972, Sara initiated these monthly master classes to give her students an opportunity to perform their repertoire in an informal setting, and receive valuable feedback and participate in an open discussion with the members of the class. She continued the master classes for 15 years. Sara Compinsky passed away in Los Angeles on November 24, 1992 at the age of 88. We are proud and honored to continue The Sara Compinsky Master Class with guest artist leaders, to carry on her legacy and the high standards that she set.