Siegmund Nissel

Violinist; born 3 January 1922 in Munich, died 21 May 2008 in London.


Having been born in Munich to Jewish Viennese parents in 1922 and with the family moving back to the Austrian capital in 1933, Siegmund Nissel was forced to flee the country to the UK in 1939 by means of the 'Kindertransport'. Having met Norbert Brainin at the Isle of Man internment camp, he was put in touch with both Carl Flesch and Max Rostal, with Rostal acting as an incredibly kind custodian, never having requested any payment for lessons. It was only due to the request of Vaughan-Williams and Myra Hess that Nissel was allowed to leave the Isle of Man, and subsequently he undertook work in a metal factory in London's East End. Siegmund played with the 'Amadeus Quartet' from the first concert in 1947 until the quartet disbanded 40 years later in 1987, also acting as the quartet's administrator and spokesman. Although he played second violin in the quartet for 40 years, there was never an element that he was playing second fiddle to Brainin, and indeed in 1981 when Siegmund fell ill, the quartet refused to play with any other player but him and proceeded to change all of their programmes from quartets to trios. Nissel died in London in 2008 but was survived by his wife, Muriel, who wrote the book, Married to the Amadeus: Life with a String Quartet.

Links and Sources

Siegmund Nissel in the University of Hamburg online database of musicians persecuted during the Nazi Period

Siegmund Nissel Telegraph Obituary

Siegmund Nissel Guardian Obituary

Elsewhere in this resource

Daniel Snowman interview

Martin Lovett interview

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