playing for life


The Two Pianos concert documentary 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 hosted the event. The National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) furnished early Exhibit support, featured Two Pianos as a special Member Event, and gave Exhibit items temporary shelter.  Directors of NMAJH and the Settlement School welcomed the audience.  The Levin / Hoffman families provided financial support together with contributions from attendees and friends.

Live readings were based on first-person interviews with Anna and Halina.  Anna’s daughter and son-in-law Nora Jean and Michael Levin narrated together with Halina’s grandson Kenneth Hoffman, who also contributed to the curated Exhibit.  Russian-born piano duo Stanislava Varshavski and Diana Shapiro performed the roles of Anna and Halina along with program music showcasing works played by them under and after the Nazis.  The premiere closed with a 1992 video of Anna, age 84, playing Mozart at a Settlement School chamber music program for seniors started in 1988 by Anna's daughter Tania Bieler Haftel (1933-2017). The original sequence was recorded by Tania's daughter Stephanie.