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Helene Isepp

Singer and singing teacher; born 30 December 1899 in Vienna, died 16 March 1968 in London.

Biography

The third daughter of the Viennese banker Paul Hammerschlag, Helene studied singing privately with Emmy Heim in Vienna, later performing in private opera productions and Lieder recitals. In 1925 she married the painter and art restorer Sebastian Isepp and she devoted herself to bringing up her children Konstanze and Martin.

Because of her Jewish background the family was forced to emigrate to England in 1938. Sebastian Isepp was able to find work as a restorer for the National Gallery, and Helene began teaching singing in a Finishing School for young ladies. In 1945 the family moved to a house in Belsize Park, Hampstead, where Helene built up a successful teaching studio and held concerts. Counted amongst Helene's students are several illustrious names; Janet Baker, Jeannette Sinclair, Ilse Wolf, Engel Lund, Heather Harper and Sir Ralph Kohn all studied with her.

Links and sources

Helene Isepp in the University of Hamburg online database of musicians persecuted during the Nazi Period

Elsewhere in this resource

Janet Baker interview

Laura Sarti interview

Bernard Keeffe interview