Tribute to a murdered pianist

Tribute to a murdered pianist


norman lebrecht

November 10, 2014

The international voice coach Mikhail Hallak has sent us this tribute to the late Kate de Marcken, whose body was found last week in a German forest. Her husband, a principal cellist in the Beethoven Orchestra in Bonn, has been arrested in connection with her murder.

katherine m



I would love to thank all my friends for the genuine and kind words of support and share a few things about my friend Kate, whose life was taken much too early. I want to remember her for all she was, not just the last gruesome details we are slowly learning about.

I will always remember a beautiful Brahms second, with this beautiful boomy sound, a stunning Gaspard de la nuit and some electrifying Petrushka! She was not only an incredibly talented pianist, she was a profoundly human musician. She was quick (“vive” as we say in French) on all fronts and her wit and legendary.

We met during my years at the Brussels conservatory, she was already done and launching as a concert pianist. We all looked at music with this deep fire from within and always connected. When at some point in my life, the floor went away from under me, it was her arms I saw holding me for as long as it took. She never counted or calculated, she was always open hearted and generous. Many people have encountered her light and the ones that did not were simply unlucky.

I know I am better for having had the chance of meeting her.

I am ceaselessly thinking of a beautiful son, her entire family and friends. Her departure hurts so deeply, but I am so happy and privileged to have known her.
Kate, you were a treasure and I thank thee!