Magazine article Gramophone

OBITUARIES: A Pioneering Harpsichordist, and a Mahler and Britten Authority

Magazine article Gramophone

OBITUARIES: A Pioneering Harpsichordist, and a Mahler and Britten Authority

Article excerpt

ZUZANA RUZICKOVA

Harpsichordist and teacher

Born January 14, 1927

Died September 27, 2017

The first harpsichordist to record the complete keyboard works of JS Bach has died aged 90. Born in Pilsen, Zuzana Ruzickova started her musical life playing the piano, but, having set her mind on pursuing her interest in the harpsichord, the war intervened and with it came the most harrowing period of her life. When the Nazis started rounding up Jews (Ruzickova's mother was Jewish; her father described himself as an atheist), she was first interned at Terezin/ Theresienstadt with her parents. There she managed to maintain, after her work in the camp's gardens during the day, a period of study that included Latin lessons, and harmony with Gideon Klein. After two years in Terezin, she and her mother were moved to Auschwitz where, lying about her age, she probably avoided immediate death. However, she and her mother were scheduled to be killed on June 6, 1944--D-Day. They were then transported to Hamburg and endured a year of hard labour before being moved once again, to the death camp of BergenBelsen. When the camp was liberated she and her mother returned to Prague only to find their house occupied and all their belongings gone.

Her love of music was still as strong and she started studying in earnest, first the piano with Marie Provanikova and then at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague were she focused on the harpsichord and early music. There she also met her future husband, the composer Viktor Kalabis. …

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