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An outstanding musical mind; OBITUARY: Beate Popperwell, music teacher at Cardiff University.


BEATE Popperwell's death at 76 robs Wales of one of its outstanding musical minds and one of its finest music teachers.

Though a pianist by trade, Beate had a profoundly formative influence not only on piano pupils, but on countless young singers, whom she coached in musical interpretation and languages, and instrumentalists, to whom she taught chamber playing.

The widow of the Cardiff University string-player Stanley Popperwell, she herself taught at the university until earlier this year, and she remained active as an accompanist and chamber-music pianist until her final illness.

Her background was by any standards remarkable. Though she spoke English without accent, she was born Beate Wiznitzer in 1924 of Germanspeaking Jewish parents in the former Imperial Austrian city of Czernowitz (by then Romania, now Ukraine).

When she was six, the family moved to Vienna, where she and her elder brother were brought up in that city's rich culture. In 1938 after the Nazi takeover she came to London thanks to her piano teacher, Julius Isserlis (grandfather of the cellist Steven Isserlis), who had already fled to England.

Her parents could not go with her, for lack of papers, and both subsequently perished in Nazi camps.

Of tiny stature, she radiated warmth, charm and a moral strength which enabled her to assert artistic authority without excessive bullying. She was also a versatile linguist.

She is survived by her two sons, and by an army of bereft friends, colleagues and pupils.
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 19, 2001
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