Suzanne Rozsa

Vioinist, teacher and co-founder of the Dumka Trio


Suzanne Rozsa, violinist and teacher: born Budapest 14 September 1923; married 1950 Martin Lovett (one son, one daughter); died London 9 November 2005.

The violinist Suzanne Rozsa managed to keep her own identity as a performer and teacher despite being married to Martin Lovett, cellist with the renowned Amadeus Quartet.

Her greatest achievement was founding the Dumka Trio, with the cellist Vivian Joseph and the pianist Liza Fuchsova, in 1965. They were considered at the time to be one of the leading trios and specialised in the works of Bohemian composers. They recorded all of Dvorák's works with piano; the one of his E minor Opus 90 "Dumsky" trio has become a classic and is still issued on various labels. The trio was only disbanded on the death of Fuchsova in 1980.

Rozsa became one of Britain's most respected teachers. Her students loved her because she always seemed to understand their problems and could find a solution to almost any difficulty; furthermore, her lessons never went by the clock. Her enjoyment of teaching was obvious. "We often go on for an hour and a half or longer," she once told me:

But what does that matter if a child needs that extra attention? If they have developed a fault that must be corrected, you can't stop. It may make a terrific difference to the way they work for the whole of the next week.

Suzanne Rozsa was born in Budapest in 1923, into a Jewish family who loved music. When she was six, she was given a small violin and soon taught herself to pick out folk tunes on her new toy. She was then given lessons with a local teacher and made such good progress that at 10 she was awarded a scholarship to the State Academy in Vienna, to study with Ernst Morawec, a pupil of Otakar Sevcik.

At 14 she won the coveted Kreisler Prize and one of the rewards was to appear as a soloist at one of the Academy concerts. So Rozsa prepared the Bach E major Concerto for what would be the most influential performance of her young life.

But the date in March 1938 was dramatically significant as it coincided with Hitler marching into Austria. Almost immediately Rozsa received a letter telling her she was not required at the forthcoming concert and Morawec - who had a Jewish wife - was sacked from the academy. He strongly advised her to leave the country and recommended her to go to London where Carl Flesch was then teaching.

A successful application to the cultural attaché at the British Embassy brought visas for Rozsa and her mother for three months. They arrived in London with only hand baggage and her violin and their sole subsistence was one pound a week, provided by the British Committee for Jewish Refugees.

In order to augment their tiny allowance, Rozsa's mother worked as a dressmaker, but insisted that her daughter only practised the violin. Eventually Rozsa auditioned for Flesch and he was sufficiently impressed to reduce his fee to £4, still a vast sum to be found. Unfortunately, her period of study with Flesch was brief, since at the outbreak of the Second World War he left for Holland.

At 18, Suzanne Rozsa was awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Music, where she became a pupil of Isolde Menges, a pupil of the legendary Leopold Auer. It was here that she first met Martin Lovett, a fellow student.

Two years later, Rozsa was asked to lead the London Polish Quartet, a group sponsored by the British Council and the Polish government in exile. She said:

They were all supposed to be Polish musicians, but the violinist, Frederic Herrmann, was taken ill and I was asked instead. As my mother was Polish, they reckoned I was an honorary Pole.

She always felt that the experience of working with this ensemble greatly helped her musical development, but above all: "We were paid £6 10s a week! It was a fortune!"

When the war ended, the quartet disbanded and Rozsa decided she needed more tuition, so she went to study with the Flesch pupil Max Rostal at the Guildhall School of Music; here she later became a distinguished professor herself and was later elected a Fellow. However, she still had to earn a living, so at the same time she took on a job in the orchestra at the Cambridge Theatre in London. There were also occasional concerts on Sunday afternoons, so, with much understanding of her difficulties, the Principal of the GSM released her from playing in the college orchestra.

None the less, in retrospect she felt that attending school during the day and playing in an orchestra at night did not allow her to develop her playing as she would have wished.

Despite all this distraction, Rozsa managed to win the Gold Medal at the Guildhall and her career gained momentum. She was invited to lead a number of chamber orchestras including the one formed by Benjamin Britten at Aldeburgh for many of his opera productions. One of her prized possessions was the score of Turn of the Screw where the composer had inscribed: "To Suzie, with love, after so many lovely performances, Ben."

She went on to give many solo recital broadcasts from the BBC and for some time was a member of the Czech Trio. She also formed a partnership with the pianist Paul Hamburger, for whom Malcolm Arnold and many other composers wrote works. She was a founder member of the English Chamber Orchestra and played often with Yehudi Menuhin in the Bath Festival Orchestra.

As a person, Suzie Rozsa was possessed of a charismatic personality that sparkled like a diamond. She was always good company and possessed a delightful sense of humour. She would fight tooth and nail to achieve something that would benefit the cause of music and could be wickedly persuasive in the face of opposition.

Margaret Campbell

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Sport
sport
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £550 - £650

£550 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Traded Credit Risk - Investmen...

Data Insight Manager - Marketing

£32000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based o...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux, Redhat, Solaris, SAN, Puppet

£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL, MSMQ, SQL, GIT, SQ...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape