By Marian Filar and Charles Patterson (231 Pages)Publisher: University Press of Mississippi, 2002
Before the Nazis sent members of the Filar family to Treblinka, these were the last words Marian Filar's mother said to him. "I bless you. You'll survive this horror. You'll become a great pianist, and I'll be very proud of you." Born in 1917 into a musical Jewish family in Warsaw, Marian Filar began playing the piano when he was four. He performed his first public concert at the age of six. At twelve he played with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and went on to study with the great polish pianist and teacher Zbigniew Drzewiecki at the State Conservatory of Music. After the German invasion, Filar fled to Lemberg (Lvov), where he continued his music studies until 1941, when he returned to his family in the Warsaw Ghetto. After liberation Filar was able to resume his career by studying with the renowned German pianist Walter Gieseking. In 1950 he immigrated to the United States and soon after was performing concerts with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He made his Carnegie Hall debut on New Year's Day, 1952. He became head of the piano department at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia and later a professor of music at Temple University, while continuing to perform in Europe, South America, Israel, and the United States. He does not end his story with the liberation but with his fulfillment of his mother's blessing.