Concert pianist loses finger in sledding race

Concert pianist loses finger in sledding race


norman lebrecht

March 12, 2019

The composer and pianist Yotam Haber has been talking to Anne Midgette about the accident that cost him a finger, now surgically retached:

Yotam Haber is an established composer and pianist, an assistant professor at the University of New Orleans, a former artistic director of New York’s MATA festival and winner of a Guggenheim fellowship and a Koussevitzky Foundation commission, among many other honors and awards. Since childhood, though, he has had another dream: to race sled dogs in Alaska.

But the dream ended three days later when, dragged behind a tipped dogsled, Haber watched his right index finger snap off “like a twig,” followed by a geyser of blood.

Read on here.




  • SmcCoy says:

    Terrible. Norman, why do you have a picture of the librettist Royce Vavrek for this post?

  • I see a movie here… struggling pianist-composer loses finger in accident. He bravely tries to continue, but without success.

    One night, he hears a strange music… beautiful music… glorious music! He goes downstairs and is horrified to see… THE FINGER IS AT THE PIANO, WRITING BETTER MUSIC THAN HE EVER DID!

    He takes The Finger on tour and they become the sensation of the musical world. But the composer is always jealous that The Finger is what gets the headlines, The Finger is what the audiences really adore, The Finger is what gets all the girls, not him!

    The Finger!

    One day, a brilliant surgeon offers to re-attach The Finger.

    “At last,” cries the composer, “people will recognize that this talent was mine all along!”

    Will the operation work?

    When the composer wakes up from the anesthesia, he is overjoyed to see the finger back on his hand as he had longed for.

    But wait… disaster! Back on his hand, the finger can no longer compose great music.

    It can now only do what it did before… swipe left and right on Tinder profiles.

  • msc says:

    I have tried to find the anecdote with no success, but I remember reading that once Rudolf Serkin came home to find his son Peter doing something in the garden with a trowel and told him off for taking such a risk. I often wonder how musicians balance protecting themselves and what might be dangerous pursuits. I laughed at first at the Serkin anecdote, then remembered that a keen gardener friend of mine was pricked by something, an infection set in, and he lost part of his finger.