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The Music Room

The Music Room

Watch again on YouTube or on Vimeo

Download a PDF of the programme notes here.

The ninth of Zoë Beyers' conversations in The Music Room is with author Natalie Cumming.

Natalie Cumming

In this episode, Natalie Cumming shares a deeply moving account of her family members’ experiences in World War II and the violin that binds their stories together. Young Greek violinist Ezo Sarici, who played Natalie’s violin at the Menuhin School, adds her voice and her music to the programme.

The Fiddle is a true story, tracing a precious violin across landscapes devastated by war and terror, to safety and restoration in 21st century Britain. Abraham and his family flee the Bolsheviks in 1917, from St. Petersburg to Odessa and safety in the UK. Abraham’s skill on the violin earns them food and lodgings, as they struggle on foot through the freezing Russian winter.

The violin passes to Rosa, Abraham’s daughter, violinist with the famous Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Arrested by the Nazis on Kristellnacht, 1938 she is sent to Mauthausen Concentration Camp, and then to Auschwitz, where her musical talent sees her forced to join the Women’s Orchestra and saves her life. She spends the last 5 months of the war in Belsen, before testifying at the Nuremberg Trials, exposing the horrors of the Nazi death camps.

Rosa’s brother, Israel, inherits the violin. A celebrated musician, he joins ENSA during the war, entertaining the troops. Post war, he investigates Nazis trying to escape trial. He forms several popular bands, well-known throughout the 60’s and 70’s.

Finally, the violin comes to his daughter Natalie, who has written her family’s extraordinary story, lest the world should ever forget global events, against which the journey of this beautiful instrument is told.

The conversation – to be broadcast on YouTube or on Vimeo from 19:30 to 20:30 on Friday, 23rd October – will be followed immediately by a Zoom Q&A session. If you would like to take part, please email  for the meeting invitation.

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