playing for life


The Two Pianos performance premiered Saturday 9 June 2018 in Presser Hall at the Settlement Music School’s original Mary Louise Curtis Branch, Queen Street Philadelphia. It was accompanied by an exhibit, discussion, and reception to meet the performers.

The Settlement School where Anna taught and performed generously hosted the event. The National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) furnished early Exhibit support, featured Two Pianos as a special offsite Member Event, and gave exhibit items temporary shelter.  Settlement CEO Helen Eaton introduced NMAJH Director Ivy Barsky and welcomed the audience.

The Levin and Hoffman families provided financial support together with contributions from program attendees and friends.

Live readings were based on first-person interviews with Anna and Halina conducted by Anna’s daughter and son-in-law Nora Jean and Michael Levin, who narrated the performance. Halina’s grandson Kenneth Hoffman contributed to the curated exhibit and also narrated.

Acclaimed Russian-born piano duo Stanislava Varshavski and Diana Shapiro performed program music, showcasing excerpts from works played by Anna and Halina under and after the Nazis. 

The Philadelphia premiere closed with a 1992 video of Anna, age 84, playing Mozart at a Settlement School chamber music program for seniors that was started in 1988 by Anna's older daughter, Tania Bieler Haftel (1933-2017). The original sequence was recorded by Tania's daughter Stephanie.