Cancer claims first woman to record Paganini Caprices

Cancer claims first woman to record Paganini Caprices


norman lebrecht

January 22, 2023

The family has informed us of the early death of Michaela Paetsch, an American violinist who was the first to take on the challenge of all 24 Paganini Caprices for a record label.

Michaela, who was 61, succumbed to a long struggle with cancer.

Raised in Colorado Springs, she studied with Ivan Galamian and Szymon Goldberg and was based for most of her working life in Switzerland.


  • NYCgirl says:

    RIP Michaela

  • Luiz F. says:

    Fantastic violinist. May God have her soul, and she’ll surely be remembered by those who loved her and her music.

  • David K. Nelson says:

    In am sorry to learn of this. Her recording for Tudor of the two Joachim Raff violin concertos (and two shorter works) certainly showed her to be a superb violinist. Her recording of the Paganini Caprices preceded Midori’s by, I think, about two or three years.

  • David Yonan says:

    Michaela-a wonderful violinist and chamber musician- a beautiful person inside out, whose radiant, joyful presence inspired many, including myself.
    She will be missed by many.
    May her Memory be for a blessing.

  • Jonathon says:

    How terribly sad. A very special violinist indeed and her recording of the Paganini Caprices is up there with the best of them. As to whether she was the first female violinist to record them, there is competition from Vanya Milanova whose less well known recording (but certainly no less impressive) was released possibly a year or two before Michaela Paetsch’s recording. Both exceptional players, a tragedy that Paetsch’s life should be cut short so cruelly.

  • Phillip Rose says:

    When I was a youngster playing in the Colorado Springs Symphony, Michaela’s family was a phenomenon on the local music scene. Father Günther was the principal cellist in the orchestra until about 1973 (?). Here is an article about Günther that also goes extensively into the family history.

  • Ulex says:

    Vanya Milanova was the first woman to record the 24 Paganini caprices (Simax label).

  • Nora Lune Paetsch says:

    Thank you everyone for the kind words about my mother Michaela.
    If you want reach out to us personally, write us via email here: