Alma Rosé hailed from a famous Viennese family of musicians. Her father was an outstanding violinist and her mother the sister of one of Austria’s most acclaimed composers, Gustav Mahler. She took up the violin at a young age and later would go on to perform with her father. But her musical talents and ambitions stretched beyond playing the violin. She led Vienna’s popular women’s orchestra the Wiener Walzermädeln which played a repertoire of classic music and operettas. However her career was then brought to an abrupt halt by the rise of Nazism in Europe. Owing to her Jewish roots she had to flee to the Netherlands but it wasn’t exactly safe for her there either. On trying to procure a fake passport to Switzerland she was detained and deported to a concentration camp.
She didn’t give up on her music however. In Auschwitz, she became the conductor of the women's prison band and was gradually able to recruit experienced players into the orchestra, mainly made up of Jewish women prisoners. The orchestra was required to perform with absolute precision and accuracy, not only on the train platform when new transports arrived, but also at parties organised for the prison guards. As orchestra member, the cellist Anita Laser-Wallfisch, recalled, "Alma knew only too well that if she didn’t form a high calibre band, we would all be sent to the gas chambers."
Alma survived just one year in the camp, dying at just 37 years of age.
The life of the superb violinist Alma Rosé will be remembered on 22nd June 2023 in a monodrama by the Polish author Mariusz Urbanek, whose story is based on real events. The ladies' string quartet will perform compositions by F. Kreisler, J. Strauss, A Dvořák, F Schubert, J. Brahms and G. Puccini. The main protagonist will be played by Sarah Haváčová.
The ladies' string quartet will perform compositions by F. Kreisler, J. Strauss, A Dvořák, F Schubert, J. Brahms and G. Puccini. The main character will be played by Sarah Haváčová.
Alma Rosé monodrama with music by the authors: F. Kreisler, J. Strauss, A.
Dvořák, F. Schubert, J. Brahms and G. Puccini.
- Sarah Haváčová, Alma Rosé
Women's String Quartet
- - Hana Dostálová Roušarová, violin
- - Monika Urbanová / Gabriela Kubátová, violin
- - Dagmar Mašková, viola
- - Vladimíra Sanvito, cello
Mariusz Urbanek, author
- Directed, translated and adapted by Olga Strusková