playing for life

Premiere Discussion Panel - Left to Right:  Ken Hoffman, Diana Shapiro (Halina), Michael Levin (Hirsch), Jean Levin, Stanislava Varshavsky (Anna), Gail Prensky



"A historically resonant presentation . . .[that] grows from dark and tangled memories."

 -- Julia Klein,  Pennsylvania Gazette (Oct. 2018), "Nothing Mattered But the Music"


"Two Pianos is a salute to the human spirit ... [a] remarkable performance, along with the impressive. . . display of artifacts... Last Saturday at the Queen Street Settlement Music School was a joyous celebration, with two accomplished young pianists, Stanislava Varshavski and Diana Shapiro, immigrants from the Ukraine and Russia, playing some of the music that Anna and her best friend and pianist partner Halima Neuman played at Kulturbund concerts in the 1930s.  As Jean explained in her remarks, she wanted professional women pianists who were married with children, just like her mother and her mother’s partner Halina. And the music they played ...was sublime!"

 -- Bonnie Squires , Main Line Media NewsLink to full article

"Congratulations ... on creating a really wonderful event. . . . I had to be there to really understand what the multi-media experience would be like, and . . . it was deeply moving as well as artistically beautiful and educational.  An amazing fusion of history, concert, and family photo album."

-- Mary Felley,  Program Coordinator, Adult Chamber Players, Settlement Music School


"What a glorious evening. Everything was perfect - superb musicians, fascinating story captured in the exhibit, brilliant fact-finding and research, all presented by warm, loving comments from you, Michael, Kenneth and the pianists. It couldn’t have been better."
-- Susan Glazer, Dean, Philadelphia College of the Arts (ret.), Philadelphia PA

". . .an old and new tale, poignant and [dramatic]. All in one, a human survival story. Thank you so much!"

-- Iryna Shahova, born Kiev, naturalized American, Gaithersburg MD


"Fantastic concert and performance was so touching and impressive! Everything, starting from organization, exhibit, concert, performance and the whole mood were extraordinary and memorable." 

-- Igor Mizine & Marina Mizina, born Leningrad, naturalized Americans, Rockville MD

"Your devotion has made Two Pianos and its story realized.  A beautiful legacy.... Two Pianos is heading into a new phase -- now the program is ready to go out into the world. "

-- Gail Prensky, Founder, Judishe Kulturbund Project,Washington DC


"It was a wonderful, amazing culmination of many [efforts] and a testimony to the power of music. ... wonderful outcome - Exhibit, video . . . such an informative program!!"

-- Marlea Gruver, Adult Chamber Players performer, Philadelphia


"Your event was amazing. So interesting to learn about your family’s journey. It made me think more about my family’s journeys which I intend to explore further."

-- Toby Needler, writer and education teacher, Brooklyn College Academy, New York

"I...can't wait to go to another performance in another city. Rarely does one have the opportunity to hear the back story behind a renewed concert. This one enhanced the performance beyond the world class talent of the pianists."

-- Margot Jones, NYC public school teacher (ret.), Peace Corps volunteer, world traveler