Anna and Hirsch Bieler in front of their first married residence, 13 Tchaikowski Strasse (formerly Konig-Johan-Strasse), Leipzig, East Germany, 1978
THE BACK STORY
The Two Pianos mutlimedia Backstory introduces Nora Jean and Michael Levin; their intercontinental quest to recapture vanished worlds; how Two Pianos came to be; and the tale's main characters. It includes stunning four-hands piano performances in honor of Felix Mendelssohn and the Peters Music Publishing House (site of the initial 2019 Back Story event), whiose legacies continue to shape Leipzig and Western music.
The quest began in 1978 with Anna and Hirsch Bieler's first return to Leipzig (then in East Germany) after they fled the Third Reich (1936). They began to tell Jean and Michael their life stories in recorded sessions, later transcribed, edited, and revised with historical context in A Border Town in Poland and related nonfiction books. Jean and Michael also interviewed Anna and Hirsch's surviving European friends, including Anna's Leipzig pianist partner Halina Neuman.
As the Levins begin to assemble these oral histories, "We realize we have a much bigger story than a family’s. The events Hirsch, Anna and their friends lived through and reacted to, shaped the 20th century. They are vivid witnesses to -- and actors in -- those events."
[Click on image to view slides]