A great piano survivor is gone

A great piano survivor is gone


norman lebrecht

February 23, 2014

We have been notified of the death of the pianist Alice Herz-Sommer, survivor of the Terezin concentration camp  and a  powerful witness to torture and injustice who played Bach as a healing balm daily to the end of her days. She was 110 years old. A documentary about her life has been shortlisted for the Oscars.

More here.



  • John Birge says:

    Typo: off by one digit — but that’s a big digit: she was 110 years old!! (sted 100).

    An astonishing life.

  • Raymond Lindsay says:

    Amazing. I also read that Pablo Casals would play Bach each day, but from the Well-tempered Klavier

  • Sanda Schuldmann says:

    Very sad news. I bought the documentary of her life. A beautifully done film.

    I grew up seeing her on the halls of the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem. Never talked to her.After seeing the movie I felt very sorry for a missed opportunity.

    May she rest in piece.

  • R. James Tobin says:

    What is the name of the documentary film?

  • I have posted the text of one of my interviews with Alice on my blog at http://blog.toccataclassics.com/. If you want to read about her life in her own words, you’ll find it there. I’ll miss her.

    • David Boxwell says:

      Wonderful and far-ranging interview. She was a link to a whole world that barbarians destroyed. Many thanks!

  • Stunning. I’ll add immodestly that my father was the first foreigner to inspect Auschwitz while the ovens were still warm…It ruined the rest of his life. That Alice made it to 110 is a testimony to her strength. May she rest in peace.

  • David Boxwell says:

    I got totally verklempt seeing her with violinist Daniel Hope in Binding & Mirow’s “Refuge in Music: Terezin” (on DVD from Deutsche Grammophon). He comes for tea at her flat and he plays Bach for her.