WE DID IT!!!!!
Thanks to you we made our goal! Any continued support would be most welcome because this will enable us to promote the CD after it's manufactured and to document on video the recording process at the Brussels Conservatory of Music.
I feel fortunate to know so many wonderful people, thanks again,
My name is Roger Peltzman. I'm a pianist and teacher in New York City. During the last ten years I have performed six solo concerts at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall and also chamber music at The Third Street Music School.
In 1933, my grandparents, my mother, Beatrice, and my Uncle Norbert fled Hitler's Berlin for Brussels, Belgium. In 1936 Norbert enrolled at the prestigious Brussels Conservatory of Music, where he was recognized as a singular talent who held the promise of becoming one of the world's greatest pianists. Then, in 1940, the Germans invaded Belgium. My uncle continued at the conservatory until 1942, when the life-threatening situation in Brussels finally forced the Stern family into hiding. At that point Norbert had no choice but to abandon his studies. Then on a winter's night in 1944, Nazis, informed of the Stern's whereabouts, broke down the door of the attic in which they were hiding and seized the family. Norbert and his parents were taken, while my mother, Beatrice, escaped out of her bedroom window to the freezing roof outside. The Sterns, without Beatrice, began the journey to Auschwitz where they ultimately perished.
In 2010 my family received a phone call from a certain Mrs. Hennessy of Brussels. She told us that during the war years she was friends with my mother and Uncle Norbert. She had been a fellow piano student of Norbert's at the Conservatory. While my family were hiding for their lives, Mrs. Hennessy, at great risk, allowed my uncle to practice on her family's Steinway. In the end, while nothing could be done for the Stern family who had been taken away, Mrs. Hennessy's father delivered my mother to the underground. She miraculously survived the war.
In the Summer of 2010, I visited Mrs. Hennessy and played on the very piano Norbert had practiced on. It was a life altering experience which drew me even deeper into a relationship with the uncle I never knew.
I am now asking friends, music lovers and people interested in the Holocaust to help fund a recording I plan to make. I need $17,500.00 to complete this project. As many of you know, Kickstarter is an all or nothing deal. If I don't make my goal - I get nothing. But if I do, it's because you helped get me there!
This CD will be an album of all Chopin works, (my uncle's specialty), recorded in the beautiful and acoustically rich concert hall at the Brussels Conservatory of Music. The very hall where Norbert Stern won piano competitions. I have always felt a kinship with this uncle who only lived for me in history. I see this project as an homage to his great talent, tragically lost to the world, and as an act of remembrance for a life cut short which may, in this way, continue to live.
50% of all revenue from the sale of my CDs will go to the recently opened Holocaust Museum of Belgium - Kazerne Dossin. This remarkable museum is on the site of the barracks where 26,000 Jews, including my Uncle Norbert, were deported to Auschwitz. It's primary focus is the plight of the Belgian Jews during World War ll, but it also addresses the discrimination and hate that still exist throughout the world.
(The photo of Norbert's fake ID in the video is from the collection of Kazerne Dossin. It was taken from him by the Nazis at the time of his arrest. The museum also has the contents of my Grandparents' pockets at the time of their arrest.)
Risks and challenges
I don't foresee any major obstacles - I've been preparing for this recording for quite a while now. But once the music is recorded - a CD must be manufactured and the art work that accompanies it must be designed. We cannot be sure if there will be manufacturing delays - but it can happen! And since this project isn't just about music, the CD booklet will most certainly be an integral part of the project. This may take a while to design and produce once the recording is finished. But I've been through this process before as a producer/manager, and I'm confident the release date will be no later than mid-November.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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