A famous flute faces Alzheimers

Eugenia Zukerman has been an international soloist, a spousal member of the Barenboim gang, artistic director at Vail and classical music correspondent for CBS News Sunday Morning.

Now 74, she is facing memory loss:

For flutist Eugenia Zukerman, Debussy’s “Syrinx” has been a staple of her daily practice routine since she was 10 years old. The piece is only 34 bars long and lasts about four minutes. By her own estimate, Zukerman has played it more than 20,000 times. One morning not that long ago, she was midway through “Syrinx” and drew a total blank on what came next.

Zukerman, 74, has Alzheimer’s. She was diagnosed about three years ago after her two daughters insisted that she get checked…

Read full report here.


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  • Oh, this is terrible. Such a ghastly disease, no cure, nothing to do but watch your loved one disappear day by day. And she’s so young! I loved seeing her at Vail but I guess those days are over. What a treasure she is. Very, very sorry to hear this.

  • It is sad indeed, but in her case there is one potentially positive aspect of this dreadful disease: she may now be able to completely forget about her marriage to Pinchas.

  • Hey, friends! Thanks for your concern! As of now Eugenia’s still in fine shape as a player (she’ll be performing on 9/21 with the Manhattan Piano Trio in Great Barrington MA) and in most other ways. So far her symptoms are minor: forgetting names and dates, that sort of thing. So, we can still enjoy her music and her great sense of humor for a while!

  • What a lovely musician she is….
    Unfortunately for me, I’ve only heard her on recordings, but that beautiful tone and forthright phrasing will always be in my ears.
    One may live for many years with Alzheimer’s; I hope Eugenia’s remaining years (may they be many) are comfortable, and that she may always be surrounded by loved ones.
    Thank you, Eugenia, for giving us the gift of your playing!

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