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American Violinist Michaela Paetsch Has Died, Aged 61

Among other achievements, Paetsch became the first American woman to record all 24 Paganini caprices


American violinist Michaela Paetsch has passed away following a long battle with cancer, aged 61. A laureate of the Queen Elisabeth, Tchaikovsky, and G.B. Dealey competitions, she established a significant solo career that saw her perform in many of the world's major centers.

Born in Colorado Springs in 1961, Paetsch had her most formative musical experiences at home, where all seven children learned string instruments and the family performed as a nine-piece chamber ensemble. She made her solo debut aged 12, performing Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto with the Colorado Springs Symphony.

Around that time, Paetsch began studying from the celebrated pedagogue Ivan Galamian. She would study with him until she left home for college, where she worked with Szymon Goldberg at both Yale University and the Curtis Institute of Music.

Paetsch's solo career saw her make concerto appearances with some of the world's top orchestras, including those of Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul , Liége, Bergen, Leipzig, Frankfurt, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

In addition, she established a lengthy discography, and in 1981, she became the first American woman to record all 24 Paganini Caprices.

"Making music and performing with my family chamber ensemble was the most important part of my development as a performing artist," said Paetsch of her childhood. "I grew as a soloist as well as a chamber musician. These experiences set me up for life."

Paetsch is survived by her husband Klaus Neftel, and their daughter Nora Lune Neftel. Our condolences to her family, friends, and colleagues.

You can hear Paetsch's recording of Paganini Caprice No. 1 below.


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