Ida Haendel – A Former Music Prodigy Known As ‘Grande Dame Of The Violin’

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Whenever we talk about the former musical prodigies, Ida Haendel can not be forgotten. She was born on 15 December 1928 and was a Polish-British-Canadian violinist. Ida was recognized as a child prodigy because she showed tremendous expertise in the field of music at a very young age. Moreover, she also became popular as an influential teacher.

Early Life Of Ida Haendel

Ida’s talents got discovered when she picked up her sister’s violin at the age of three. She has an incredible musical talent since an early age. At the age of 5, she won the Warsaw Conservatory’s Gold Medal by performing the Beethoven Violin Concerto. Moreover, she won the first Huberman Prize in 1933. When she was 7, she was participating in competitions against famous musicians such as David Oistrakh and Ginette Neveu to become a laureate of the first Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition in 1935.

Ida Haendel – Pristine Classical
Ida Heandel

These achievements enabled her to study with famous teachers like Carl Flesch in London and George Enescu in Paris. During World War II, Ida was playing in factories and for British and American troops. She also performed in Myra Hess’s National Gallery concerts. Her London debut under the club of Sir Henry Wood in 1937 brought her worldwide critical acclaim. Haendel’s lifelong association with the Proms resulted in 68 appearances.

Performing career

After performing at the Sibelius concerto in Helsinki in 1949, Ida received a letter from the composer. The letter was to appreciate the incredible violinist, Ida Haendel. She regularly made annual tours of Europe and also appeared consistently in South America and Asia. She was living in Montreal, Canada from 1952 to 1989. Her collaborations with Canadian orchestras made her a popular celebrity of Canadian musical life.

She acquired Canadian citizenship as a British subject resident in Canada. Performing with the London Philharmonic in 1973, she became the first Western soloist who got an invitation from China following the Cultural Revolution.

VERY SAD NEWS | Luminary Violinist Ida Haendel Has Passed Away – Aged 91  [RIP]
An amazing violinist

In 1993, Ida made her concert debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker. In 2006, she gave an amazing performance for Pope Benedict XVI at the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Her later works include an appearance at the Sagra Musicale Malatestiana Festival in 2010 and a tribute concert at London’s National Gallery in honor of Dame Myra Hess’s War Memorial Concerts. Ida Haendel’s violin was a Stradivarius of 1699. She had lived in Miami, Florida, for many years and was very active at the Miami International Piano Festival.

Honors and Awards Received By Ida Haendel

In 1991, Ida became CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire). She was chosen by Queen Elizabeth II for the post. She also received honorary doctorates from the Royal College of Music, London, in 2000 and from McGill University in 2006.


This incredible violinist died on 1 July 2020, aged 91, at a nursing home in Pembroke Park, Florida. She was suffering from kidney cancer at the time of her death according to her nephew.

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