Eva Mayer Schay obituary


My good friend Eva Mayer Schay, who has died aged 91, was a violinist with the English Nationwide Opera for 30 years. Her household had fled Germany within the Nineteen Thirties and Eva grew up in South Africa, arriving in Britain within the 50s to flee apartheid.

Eva was born in Cologne to Alfred Schay, an accountant and tax advisor, and his spouse, Hermine (nee Wertheimer); two years later her father was hounded out of Germany as a non-Aryan and the household moved to Mallorca, the place Eva remembered an idyllic childhood together with her mom operating a B&B. The idyll got here to a brutal finish with the Spanish civil warfare, once they had been shipped again to Germany and thence to Milan. They had been pitifully poor and fearful for his or her future. Because of household connections in South Africa, in 1936 they settled in Johannesburg, the place Alfred managed to search out employment.

On beginning college in 1939, Eva had her first encounter with music when a good friend performed the piano; she was enthralled. By 1940 she knew that she that needed to play the violin and was lucky sufficient to obtain classes from the virtuoso Herman Abramowitz. When, on Eva’s 14th birthday, her father died, her mom managed to take over the household accountancy apply. Eva attended Barnato Park highschool and joined a kids’s orchestra. She went on to check music at Witwatersrand College, graduating in 1952, all of the whereas perfecting her violin taking part in.

Eva was awarded a scholarship by her college and in 1952 moved to London to check violin and chamber music on the Guildhall College of Music and Drama. She returned to South Africa in 1956 and performed with the South African Broadcasting Company and for Durban’s Civic Orchestra, however her repugnance for apartheid led to her leaving in 1961; she returned to England, adopted by her mom. She initially labored for the Northern Sinfonia, based mostly in Newcastle. She then moved to Golders Inexperienced together with her mom.

In 1967 she married Henry Mayer, a psychological well being social employee, and in 1968 Eva began taking part in for the English Nationwide Opera. Over the subsequent three a long time she performed in mainland Europe, the US and Russia, in addition to in London.

Eva retired in 1998. She did some travelling and was an avid reader, all the time having a big pile of books by her armchair. She was a daily attender on the Jewish mindfulness meditation group at Alyth synagogue and a longtime member of the Research Society, pursuing meditation, poetry and a spread of philosophical pursuits.

Her relationship with Henry was passionate however tempestuous. He died in 2006. Eva wrote frankly about their marriage and his melancholy in her autobiography, Of Exile and Music (2014).

She is survived by her stepson, Simon, and a step-granddaughter, Kate.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here