It’s Ida’s birthday…

It’s Ida’s birthday…


norman lebrecht

December 15, 2016

Since she has shown me three birth certificates with different years on them, I would not hazard a guess to her precise age, but happy birthday Ida Haendel and may you be granted many more.

Does anyone come close in the Sibelius concerto?


  • Ungeheuer says:

    A phenomenal violinist and musician. But Heifetz’s Sibelius wasn’t chopped liver.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    This is sublime. Many thanks for posting.

  • Daniel F. says:

    Wiki gives her birth year as 1928. Another year, 1923, which has been given, is said to be erroneous, a result of management’s having made her old enough to circumvent a Covent Garden rule that nobody under 14 can appear on stage. In any event, nobody captured the “bardic” long line at the beginning of the Sibelius the way she did. I heard her perform it live with the Boston Symphony under Simon Rattle in the early 1980’s–a memorable event, especially so in the midst of Seiji O’s dreary tenure during those years. I believe it was her first appearance with the orchestra and do not recall, though I could be wrong, any subsequent appearances.

  • Iain Scott says:

    Oh I remember so many wonderful performances with Alexander Gibson and the SNO.
    A Happy Birthday indeed to a formidable musician

    • Robert Roy says:

      I remember hearing her play the Sibelius concerto under Paavo Berglund with the SNO in 1978. It was shortly after they had made their classic recording and I remember being bowled over by this tiny woman who made everything look so easy.

      A truly wonderful violinist.

  • David Osborne says:

    She’s great, always has been, but seeing as you asked, Ginette Neveu.

  • Tanya Shively says:

    Christian Ferras!

  • Robert von Bahr says:

    Yes, Norman,

    Leonidas Kavakos (in both versions). No happenstance that he got the Gramophone Award in 1991 for the disc with both versions. I produced it myself and can testify to the incredible qualities of this player.

    Robert (von Bahr)

  • Ann Summers Dossena says:

    Happy Birthday Ida! Would love to catch up to you again sometime. Warm regards. Ann Summers Dossena

  • Stuard Young says:

    Yes, Ida played the Sibelius concerto as if it had been written for her. But the Violin Concerto 2 by Allan Pettersson WAS written for her, and is a severely neglected masterpiece. Is the neglect because today’s active violinists are afraid that comparison to Ida Haendel will show them short of requisite skill?