Giovannina (Gio) and Virginia (Ginny) de Blasiis, two sisters from a musical family, founded the de Blasiis Chamber Music Series. Gio graduated from Yale; studied piano in New York City, London, and Paris; received a Master of Arts degree from the Eastman School; and taught at Emma Willard, Skidmore, and privately in Glens Falls. Her younger sister, Ginny, studied at the Curtis Institute, Juilliard, and Skidmore. She was concertmaster of the Vermont Symphony, played with the Schenectady and Glens Falls Symphonies, and taught in the Glens Falls school system.
Gio gave eight piano programs at the home of Mary Hoopes in 1932 at the request of Charlotte Hyde. Ginny, after her violin studies, joined her sister in sonata recitals. George Finckel, well-known cellist on the music faculty of Bennington College, then joined them to make up the trio which was to be the nucleus of the Chamber Music Series. Through their many contacts, Gio and Ginny were able to attract major performers to the area from around the country and abroad. Programming was always innovative, from the romantic and classical to the modern, and was scored for all combinations of instruments. After the early years at the Hoopes’ home, concerts moved to the First Presbyterian Church. Later, they were held at The Hyde Collection, at first in the Courtyard of Hyde House and then in the new auditorium in the Museum’s Education Wing.
After the sisters’ deaths, a board of directors was formed to carry on their mission of bringing the finest performers and programs to the Glens Falls area. With the ongoing support of The Hyde Collection, the community, faithful subscribers, and the City of Glens Falls, six concerts continue to be presented each year. Thanks to Gio and Ginny’s vision, the de Blasiis Chamber Music Series is one of the oldest in the country.
Images: Above left: Virginia de Blasiis, C: George Finckel, 1940s Above right: Virginia de Blasiis, ca. 1930, The Hyde Archive