Woman of the Century/Blanche Hermine Barbot
BARBOT, Mme. Blanche Hermine, musical director and pianist. born in Brussels, Belgium. 28th December, 1842. She is the daughter of Vic tor and Marie Therese Petit, and inherits her great musical talents from her father, who was a musician and composer of ability and a fine performer on several instruments, but especially noted for the perfection of his playing on the clarinet. From infancy Hermine gave evidence of a decided talent for music. She received from her father the most careful training. At the age of seven she was al ready so accomplished a pianist that the celebrated French musician, Mme. Pleyel. complimented her most warmly on her playing and predicted for her a brilliant future upon the concert stage, for which her father destined her. Her first appearance in concert was in the Theatre Italien-Francais, in Brussels, in February, 1851. This first success of the little Hermine was followed by many others during a tour she made with her father through the various large cities of Belgium and Holland. While in Holland, she was invited to play before the Queen, w ho was so delighted by the child's performance that she gave her a beautiful watch as a token of her admiration. The family removed to New York in the spring of 1852. where several concerts were given by the father and daughter. Mons. Petit was induced to visit the South and finally to settle in Charleston, S. C., where he was successful as a music teacher. While still a young man, he fell a victim to yellow fever in the epidemic of 1856, leaving his family in such straitened circumstances that all thought of a musical career for his daughter had to be renounced, and she became a teacher at the age of thirteen. When Thalberg visited Charleston, in 1857. he called upon Mile. Petit, and was so delighted with her playing that he invited her to render with him a duo on two pianos at his concert. In 1863 Mile. Petit was married to P. J. Barbot. a merchant of Charleston, who died in 1887, leaving six children. Her marriage in no way interfered with her musical work. Although Mme. Barlnit is a brilliant pianist with fine technique and great force and delicacy of expression, she has always shrunk from appearing in public as a solo performer, except in response to the calls of charity, to which she has always given her services freely, irrespective of denomination, although she is herself an earnest Roman Catholic. Her peculiar gift is in training and directing large musical forces. She has for years given cantatas, oratorios and operas with the amateurs of the city. To her Charleston is indebted for most of the fine music it has had of late years, as her taste inclines to the serious and classical. BLANCHE HERMINE BARBOT. In 1875 Mme. Barbot was chosen director of the Charleston Musical Association, a society of about a hundred voices, with which she has since given many important works. She has been organist in St. Man's and St. Michael's churches, and is now organist of the Cathedral.