Piano teacher Erzsebet Kadar and her pupils: Janos Gottlieb, Kato Vida, Zsuzsa Gal

  • Photo taken in:
    Baia Mare
    Country name at time of photo:
    Romania (1920-1945)
    Country name today:

The person in the center, so the forth in the first raw is Erzsebet Kadar, my piano teacher.

Next to her, on her left side it’s me, Janos Gottlieb, behind me to the left - so the forth from left in the second raw - is standing my piano teacher’s daughter, Kato Kadar - she became Kato Vida, the wife of Geza Vida, the famous sculptor -, on her right is Zsuzsi Gal, the daughter of our family doctor.

They were all the piano teacher’s pupils. We were a great family.

I suppose the photo was taken on the occasion of a performance in Nagybanya, in the second part of the 1930s.

I was born in 1929 in Nagybanya. From the age of three I lived at my paternal grandparents.

My grandparents lived in a village somewhere near Nagybanya for a while, I was with them there too, then in Nagybanya.

But when I was five years old, my father took me with him, he rented a quite nice apartment, in a nice part, let's say, of Nagybanya, in a villa.

The owner was a woman from Kolozsvar, a widow, her family name was Herczeg.

The rent was quite high, but it was in the outskirts, the air was fine there.

My father always feared that I got tuberculosis or something like that. This was when I was five.

We had somebody who did the housekeeping; my father had a good salary, in those times this didn't mean a problem.

Later it was my step-mother who did the housekeeping. Well, it wasn't her who actually worked, but she gave out the tasks for everybody.

It wasn't her who did the cooking, we had a cook. This wasn't a problem.

I inherited from my mother my liking for music. If I can, I listen to music all day. Classical music, not just any kind of music.

After my mother's death I took piano lessons too. My piano teacher was called Erzsebet Kadar, she was the disciple of Bela Bartok.

Her husband was Geza Kadar, the painter. They were both communists in illegality, I don't know how they escaped. And Erzsebet

Kadar was Jewish, but she was christened, so she wasn't deported.

Her maiden name was Hevesi, and she had a younger sister, who was a pianist in Budapest - so they were both pianists -, and who was deported. She didn't come back.

So I was playing the piano from the age of five.

We had a piano at home, and I enjoyed playing the piano, but I didn't want this to be my profession.

After I came back from the concentration camp, I continued learning it, I played the piano again, because I enjoyed it.

Then I got to the university, and it was over. I have a cottage piano, but I play rarely, because my fingers don't work anymore as they should, and it bothers me.

However, I like listening to music a lot. For example I like the violin and piano concertos of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, I very much like Schumann's piano concertos, and I also like cello concertos.

I like many things. I like all good music. And I agree with those who say there is no light music and serious music, but good and bad music.

The truth is there are songs in light music, which are very nice, and I like them.

Interview details

Interviewee: Janos Gottlieb
Emoke Major
Month of interview:
Year of interview:
Iaşi , Romania


Janos Gottlieb
Year of birth:
City of birth:
Baia Mare
Country name at time of birth:
Romania (1920-1945)
after WW II:
University professor

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