In My Father's Footsteps-A Daughters Search For Answers
Part I of the Series "Musical Roots: An Exploration of Cultural Heritage and Musical Influences"
"In My Father's Footsteps" is the story of discovering the man I called "Abba" (Hebrew for father"), by tracing his journey through life. Unfortunately, my father died when I was quite young so I never had the opportunity to know him as an adult and ask him questions about his life.
As my career evolved and my traveling took me all over the world, I started looking forward to the adventures and experiences I had meeting and interacting with people from cultures distinctly different from what I was used to. I began to think about the role cultural heritage has in forming us as people, and how my parents cultural heritage impacted and resonated within me. In many ways, they are the forces that shaped so much of my perspective in life and as a musician. I also understood that the many great musicians I have had the privilege of studying and working with, planted seeds of influence that took root and greatly influenced my growth as a musician.
The genesis of the project began with the discovery of an old letter from Moscow addressed to my father. After having it translated, I realized that I knew very little about his life, his parents and sister, and his journey from Russia to America. Despite this, I always felt closely connected to him.
My search for answers uncovered his many challenges, roles and adventures. Born in Soviet Russia in 1923, the story of my father’s life unfolded as a fantastic portrayal of courage and perseverance in pursuing and achieving his dreams.
He lost his parents at age 18-the same year he was drafted into the Russian army as a medic in WWII. After the Allies secured Berlin, he was stationed in the Russian sector serving as a doctor. From there he managed a daring escape from Stalin’s clutches to an American Army base in Augsburg where he requested political asylum. Once his request was granted, he was placed in the Föhrenwald DP camp-working as a doctor.
In 1951, he was granted papers to leave for Argentina. After a short stay there, he left and traveled to the newly formed State of Israel where he met and married my mother, and started a family. A few years after my brother was born, my parents decided to leave for America, and this is where I was born.
The music presented in this recital reflects what I was able to discover and learn about his life, the places he lived, joys and hardships, and his final years. It is also the story of so many that came to this country seeking freedom, better lives and chance to fulfill their potential. It is the story of courage, resilience and perseverance and makes me proud to call this man my father.
Video preview of "In My Father's Footsteps".
Music: Liadov Prelude on a Russian Theme
Performed by: Sandra Shapiro