Olga Zundel



Competition Winner

Born: 1912 (China)

Died: 1997

Olga Zundel (Neikrug), cellist, was the daughter of Russian parents who was born in China. At age 16 she was named a winner in the 1928 Walter W. Naumburg Competition. Miss Zundel was a child prodigy who studied with Willem Willeke at the Institute of Musical Art, and at his summer school in Pittsfield, MA, where she took part in the ensemble work at the South Mountain Music Colony.

She was married to cellist George Neikrug and the mother to pianist and composer Marc Neikrug and actor Barry Neikrug.

Olga Zundel performed her New York debut recital under the auspices of the Naumburg Foundation on January 3, 1929 in Town Hall. Her program included: Franck's Sonata for Piano and Cello, Locatelli's Sonata, Robert Schumann's Adagio and Allegro, op. 70, Variations on a Theme Rococo by Tchaikovsky, Adon-Olam by Ruben Goldmark, and Spinnlied by David Popper. Pierre Lobushutz was the pianist.

Excerpt from The New York Times review January 4, 1929

Debut by Olga Zundel

Young 'Cellist, Naumburg Prize Winner, Cordially Received

"tone is in general of ingratiating warmth and mellow beauty and her bowing firm and vigorous...program comprised of Franck's sonata, a sonata by Pietro Locatelli, Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Theme Roccoco, Mr. Willeke's arrangement of a Mozart Larghetto, David Popper's Elfentanz and Rubin Goldmark's Adon-Olam...Popper played with delicate grace and fine-spun tone."

Musical Courier, January 10, 1929

Olga Zundel

"It is sometimes a dangerous thing to advertise a young artist as having received so important a prize as that of the Naumburg Foundation. However Olga Zundel, a young cellist who made her debut in Town Hall on January 3, justified the expectations of those who knew her as the winner of this award. A good, firm technical foundation was, of course, to be expected, but Miss Zundel possesses in addition a clearness and suavity of tone and an evident understanding of the music she plays. Her program was a taxing on, containing as it did numbers by Locatelli and Franck, Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Theme Rococo, as well as a group by Goldmark, Popper and Mozart, but she overcame interpretative and technical difficulties in a creditable manner. A thoroughly pleased audience accorded the young artist most cordial applause. Pierre Luboschutz was at the piano."


1928 Naumburg Competition

First Prize

Commissioned Works

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Naumburg Performances

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Recording Awards

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