Death of 3-in-a-bed conductor

Death of 3-in-a-bed conductor


norman lebrecht

December 26, 2019

Christopher ‘Kiffer’ Finzi, who has died aged 84, was married to Hilary, the sister of Jacqueline DuPre.

In a scabrous history published in 1997 under the title A Genius in the Family he related how they slept three in a bed.

Jackie was, at the time, in a highly vulnerable state. Although she was dead by the time the memoir appeared, most who knew her felt Kiffer and Hilary had defiled her memory. The book was followed a year later by a movie, Hilary and Jackie.

Daniel Barenboim, who was Jackie’s husband, was deeply wounded by the book and the film but could do nothing about the film.

Kiffer had several children outside his marriage. The Times has a deftly balanced obituary.




  • Robert Roy says:


    It’s Christmas. Good will to all men and that…!

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    It is impressive how Barenboim managed to disentangle himself from the controversies of his marriage to Jacqueline Du Pre & establish himself as a champion of peace in the Middle East ( a hopeless prospect considering that it is the land of the fanatical monotheistic religions). Long live free thought & down with outmoded fanatical ideologies that divide people.

    • V. Lind says:

      It’s impressive how he disentangled himself from the actualities of his marriage by setting up a rival court in Paris.

      But I’m not prepared to sanctify the memory of Jacqueline DuPré. She was a difficult person to live with, by most accounts, though the reasons that is so vary depending upon their perspective.

      I prefer to ignore their doubtless tempestuous lives and think of them both as great musicians. Such as here, in happier days

  • Peter says:

    If the claims in the book defiled her memory and caused great distress, why make these the headline and main part of your posting ?
    Surely the first and last para would suffice.

  • Jimbo says:

    OMG when is the veneration of Saint Jaqueline going to stop? I’m so sick of hearing her recording of the Elgar being the go-to recording on BBC accompanied by the story of her too early death. I get she was super talented and died young but my god nothing in Britain sells like nostalgia and you’d think that no other cellists existed or could be interviewed without being pushed to mention/venerate/ extole her in tones soaked in religious beatification! Basta! FFS!

    • Maria says:

      If you don’t like it, then don’t listen to it! There have been many live performances of the Elgar – many times on the BBC over the years, and they are different, not better. But please don’t berate those of us in England who knew her, respect what she achieved, ending up with MS and her death. It pays to speak kindly of the dead.

  • buxtehude says:

    “A Death in the Family” was written by Jackie’s embittered elder sister Hillary, with a co-credit to their clueless brother Piers. Hilly was married to the now-late Finzi.

    Jackie du Pre was Not a difficult person to live with, at least in heath; she as almost universally adored for her character, and apart from her genius, her enduring gift to us.

    During the 16-year course of that terrible case of multiple sclerosis, yes attending on her could be exhausting and to people who criticize Barenboim for continuing with his own life during that time, I put the unanswerable question: what do you suppose You would have done? He was on the carousel, at the top of his profession, and who in that position dares to step off?

    She was never abandoned, any claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

    May her memory be ever green.