An Inspired Israeli Teacher

Ilona Feher

Lived: 1901-1988

Why you should know her: One of the last greats of the Central European Violin School, Feher made aliyah (immigrated to Israel), where she became a renowned violin teacher.

Born to a Jewish family in Budapest, Hungary, Ilona Feher studied violin at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. Between the world wars, she performed all over Europe, one of the world’s great violinists.

But when the Nazis occupied Hungary, Feher and her daughter were sent to a concentration camp. Ilona and her daughter escaped two years later in 1944, and joined anti-Nazi partisans until the end of the war. For the next few years, she returned to the stage, but could only play concerts in Soviet-controlled Eastern Europe.

In 1949, Ilona made aliyah to Israel and began a new career as a teacher of the instrument she so loved. Through the years she earned a reputation as a disciplinarian, but one with a sense of humor. Her students included such luminaries as Pinkas Zukerman, Shlomo Mintz, and Yaakov Rubinstein.

Awards given to Feher for her playing and her teaching include the Golden Medal and Diploma of the Franz Liszt Academy, Honorary Doctor of the Wezmann Institute of Science, and the King Solomon Award of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation.

Tags: Israelis You Should Know Video

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