A musical prodigy who began playing at age three and performing at age four, Ida Haendel continued her passionate violin performances into her late eighties. Haendel’s father pushed her older sister, Ala, to learn violin, but after Ida proved a natural talent, he switched his focus and took Ida to study at the Warsaw Conservatory, where she won their gold medal at the age of four. She studied in London and Paris before winning the Polish Prize at age seven and placing seventh overall in the first Wieniawski Competition in 1935. She made her London debut at the Queen’s Hall, performed regularly throughout WWII at the Promenade and National Gallery concerts, and entertained British troops despite sometimes harrowing wartime conditions. While Haendel left Britain in 1952 and finally settled in Miami in 1979, the British continued to esteem her, making her a Commander of the British Empire in 1991. Throughout her career, she was praised for her master classes and her emotive recordings—after hearing her recording of his music, Jean Sibelius wrote to her, “I congratulate myself that my concerto has found an interpreter of your rare standard.” In 1970 she wrote an autobiography, Woman with Violin.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Ida Haendel." (Viewed on February 19, 2017) <https://jwa.org/people/haendel-ida>.