Cancer claims baroque rebel, 63

Cancer claims baroque rebel, 63


norman lebrecht

July 21, 2020

The New York violinist Karen Marie Marmer, who starred with her husband Jorg-Michael Schwarz in theRebel Baroque Ensemble, has died at 63.

She had some pedigree: She studied violin at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College with Israel Chorberg and Ruth Waterman and at the Yale School of Music with Syoko Aki. Her baroque violin studies were with Jaap Schroeder at Yale, Marilyn MacDonald at the Baroque Performance Institute at Oberlin and with Lucy van Dael at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague.

Alongside music, Ms. Marmer’s interests include performance art, poetry, acting, environmental and historic preservation, the diverse spiritual traditions of the world and mysticism, with a special focus on the Kabbalah. She is trained in several healing modalities and is a certified instructor of Laughter Yoga.  


  • John Moran says:

    Thank you for posting this tribute to Karen. We’re all shocked and deeply saddened by the news of her death, a real loss for the music world.

  • Rhonda says:

    Dear Norbert and friends, I am so sorry to hear of Karen’s passing. We were great friends when she lived with Jorg-Michael in Amsterdam behind the Engelsekerk. What a terrific, vibrant, loving, kind and thoughtful person she was. I shall raise a glass to her tonight. In loving memory, Rhonda Brönicke, baroque cellist, USA and The Netherlands

  • Eric Sakurai says:

    Gail and I are totally shocked to hear the news. We always loved her and REBEL so much when we lived in the Northeast. She was such a unique, wonderful person!

  • Alexander Platt says:

    What shocking, terrible news. Karen was such a glorious musician and human being. I was overjoyed to present REBEL on my series two years ago, it was an honor to do so. My deepest sympathies to her husband and musical comrade, who together made REBEL one of our very finest Baroque ensembles. I am so sorry.

  • Seems we were only just kids together, dreaming of a life in music. Karen’s dedication, imagination, creativity, curiosity and kindness made it a reality. A beautiful soul. Condolences to Jorg-Michael.

  • Saskia Leonhardt says:

    Dear ensemble and specialy Jorg Michael, what a terrible news I red about Karin.
    It is nearly unbelievable. I hope she had not too long this terrible illness and didn’t suffer too much.
    My mother, Marie Leonhardt is very old and can not cope with difficult and sad news.
    I wish you a lot of courage and strengths!!
    Sakia Leonhardt

  • Edward Smaldone says:

    She was a dear colleague when we were students together in the 70s and we stayed in casual touch over the years. Her work with Rebel was terrific, and I don’t think I ever saw her without her brilliant smile. She is gone too soon, and will be missed.

  • P Wentworth says:

    Karen was always so kind. Making good music was always important to her, but being a good person was her priority. Jorg and Karen have always been the most loyal and trustworthy people one could ever meet and I really feel for all the people that were in Karen’s life, for it is such an enormous loss. In our thoughts are those that spent more than twenty years playing alongside her. It’s going to be tough on you guys for a while.
    Of course, most of all, we must send all our strength to her husband, colleague and best friend, Jörg-Michael Schwarz for whom this is the most terrible loss of all, for they were inseparable, they were a team, and together they were ‘greater than their sum’.
    Jörg, if you are reading this, I say this to you:
    You are not alone. We are with you during this time.
    “Play on.”

    If music be the food of love, play on;
    Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
    The appetite may sicken, and so die.
    That strain again! it had a dying fall:
    O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound,
    That breathes upon a bank of violets,
    Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more:
    ‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
    O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou,
    That, notwithstanding thy capacity
    Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,
    Of what validity and pitch soe’er,
    But falls into abatement and low price,
    Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy
    That it alone is high fantastical.