Tributes to Ida Haendel

Tributes to Ida Haendel


norman lebrecht

July 01, 2020

Tamsin Little: So sad to know that Ida Haendel has died … she inspired me so much, as a young girl, and I adored her characterful, robust and gutsy playing, as well as her colourful dress sense! I listened to her Sibelius concerto over and over again in my teen years, as well as her brilliant Britten concerto, when no one was bothering with the piece (unthinkable, now!). More recently I went to a fantastic recital at the Wigmore Hall where she did a memorable Bach Chaconne and the whole of the Enescu 3rd sonata (from memory!). I went to say Hello backstage and we had such a lovely chat together. RIP, and thank you, thank you so much, dearest Ida, for your incredible artistry!

Steven Isserlis: So sad to hear (belatedly) of the death of Ida Haendel. What a lady! Passionate, inspired, stubborn, utterly unique – glorious! Playing the Beethoven Triple with her and Martha Argerich remains one of my most cherished – if surreal! – memories. There’s never been anyone like Ida.

CBSO: Ida was a regular concerto partner of Simon Rattle, and this live Proms performance was recorded in 1994. She had made her Proms debut with Henry Wood at the Queen’s Hall in 1937! She will be greatly missed.

David Garrett: My dear friend and teacher Ida Haendel just passed away yesterday. She guided me musically from age 11 to 17.

Shlomo Montz: Ida Haendel: A great violinist and a great friend passed away today… a colorful person with a unique mix of love for human beings will indeed be missed by many. May her soul rest in peace knowing that she will be remembered as the last of the best..

Sandra Roberts: I remember reading Woman With Violin when I was 13. Then when I met her, total disbelief how small she was and how did she project so much (and walk in such high heels!).

Emma McGrath:  I learned so much from you in the summers I spent in Israel….. and your fiery personality is something I have always aspired to. I cherish the memories I have of your live playing, and will continue to adore your many recordings. In a world full of so many excellent violinists, you stood out and stand out as a true original voice. Our musical history is richer for having had you in it.

Vesna Gruppman: It is with the most heavy heart and tears that I write this post to let my friends know about the passing of the legendary violinist, musical giant, extraordinary human being IDA HAENDEL.
She was Igor’s and mine closest friend, mentor, teacher, adviser, and even colaborator.
I personally feel so blessed, privileged, and honored to have known her and to have associated with her in many ways.
She was incredible woman, genius, down to earth, witty,intelligent, compassionate, sensitive, beautiful, loving….
She was my violin IDOL since my childhood. I have emulated her musicianship all my life, and I’ve never dreamed that one day I will have the honor to meet her, and not to mention learn so much from her and even become her friend. I have tried to pass on to my students so much of the knowledge she imparted onto me.
I loved her! She will be so greatly missed.


The Guardian is first with an obituary here.



  • E. says:

    There is a lovely documentary, “I am the Violin.”

  • Anonymous says:

    Shlomo Mintz*

  • Rachelle Goldberg says:

    I was so saddened to learn that Ida had passed away. I recall my late parents recounting when they went to a Concert , I believe at the Royal Albert Hall in 1942 when they were courting. Ida performed the Brahms Violin Concerto. Her playing of this Concerto became known as the definitive performance. She performed at the Memorial Concert to the late Professor Yrah Neaman. At that concert there were so many violinists either performing or in the audience. It was a remarkable occasion. More recently she gave a Masterclass at the Royal College of Music. She was a remarkable person but an amazing violinist.

  • John Rook says:

    My two favourite violinists from my Manchester period were Lydia Mordkovitch and Ida Haendel. These two communicated more humanity and music in my dealings with them than anyone before or since.

  • Robert Roy says:

    I have a lovely Ida Haendel story!

    A teacher of mine told me a story of how, as a 10 year old girl, she was the sole audience of a live studio broadcast of the Brahms Concerto. My teacher’s father was a violinist in the orchestra, hence her presence in the front row, sitting about 10 feet away from the great lady.

    As the first movement progressed, my teacher’s nose began to bleed. Alas, she had no hankie! Ms. Haendel quickly realised there was a problem and, during a tutti, handed her her own tissue and tipped her back and held her nose until it was time for her next entry!

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    Look at the London Proms performances. Here are the most performed concertos of her 68 appearances !

    *Brahms 1938, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945 ,1946, 1948, 1949, 1960, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1982, 1984

    *Beethoven 1937, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1951 (twice), 1955, 1966, 1970, 1988

    *Sibelius 1949, 1955, 1956, 1974, 1981,1993

  • Michael Turner says:

    Ida Haendel had possibly the most recognisable sound of any violinist that I have ever heard. A truly great artist. RIP
    However, she was also a consummate professional. I would like to share one anecdote with Slipped Disc readers: Ida was engaged to give a performance of the Walton concerto in a marquee at Leeds Castle in the late 1980s. Unfortunately the October weather was atrocious and as the work got underway it was hard to hear anything for the rain drumming on the roof. But worse was to follow: during one extremely tricky passage rainwater started to leak onto Ida herself. I can still see her look up, then take a step to her left. She never stopped playing! That summed her up- an eccentric yes, a genius certainly, but most of all a true pro.

  • Ida Haendel was undoubtedly a great violinist and personality with one of the most instantly recognisable sounds of any violinist. Much as I have enjoyed her recordings since I last heard her play live, Brahms/Groves at RFH in the 80s, it is her concerts I remember so vividly. Those glances at the audience during orchestral tuttis and incredible composure when she played. The sound was a voice, a conscience, and her often thought provoking interviews were not to be missed. An inspiration to me as a violinist for most of my life, I’ll always treasure her memory.

  • Garry Humphreys says:

    Tasmin, not Tamsin …

  • When Ida Haendel performed the Mendelssohn Concerto with me and the Philharmonia at the Barbican, it was our first encounter, soon to become close friends in Miami for decades. Her departure is sad beyond words. But let me tell a Miami anecdote that helps to understand how difficult must have been for her to live there.
    We were at a dinner given by a common friend in Miami.
    Seated between Ida and me was a well-known financier and board member of the local Opera company. He asked
    Ida: “What do you do, my dear?”. Ida: “I play violin”. “In which orchestra”. “No, no, I am a soloist!”. “Really? How come I never heard of you?”…I intervened…

  • James Stark says:

    My great uncle was heavily involved with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in the 1970s and I recall him telling me his first concert was watching Koussevitsky conduct the Pathetique in 1912 when he was 12 . Ida Haendel was a regular soloist in Bournemouth and of course made superb recordings of the Sibelius,Britten and Walton concertos with them . When I asked him who was the greatest violinist he had seen over nearly 70 years of concert going he said immediately Ida Haendel .

    I am sorry that I never saw her in concert but her recordings bear out his view – undoubtedly one of the greatest

  • Nick2 says:

    A very late tribute to a marvellous artist. I had the great good fortune of working with her on two occasions – chamber orchestra concerts at the Edinburgh Festival in the gorgeous Signet Library and again on an Asian tour when she performed the Brahms Concerto. One concert was at the Osaka Music Festival, at that time the most prestigious Festival on the continent.

    Apart from the magnificence of her playing, she could be both feisty and humorous. At a lunch I gave for her in Singapore, we discussed her autobiography. She told me her publisher wanted a sequel but she had refused. I asked why. She had insisted, I was told, on a title the publisher refused to sanction – “One Night Stands!”

    A great artist. May she rest In Peace.