Leo and Music

Music was a lifelong interest of Leo’s. While studying law (and physics and economics!) at Warsaw University, he also studied piano at the Warsaw Conservatory (now the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music).

His musical training came in handy when he first came to the United States, since he was able, at least to to some extent, to show his gratitude for Helen Kotzin‘s kindness by giving piano lessons to Helen’s granddaughter, Rhoda.

I remember as a child*, at 1054 14th Avenue in Minneapolis, the family gathering around an upright piano in the living room, with Leo at the keyboard, all singing songs from the Fireside Book of Folk Songs: “Oh Susannah”, “Darling Clementine”, “The Raggle-Taggle Gypsy” and “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum”.

All four children also took piano lessons at a young age and later took up other instruments.

At 17 East Elmwood Place in Minneapolis, where we lived from around 1960 to 1965, there was a good quality grand piano, and Leo would occasionally play classical pieces, particularly Chopin, with great verve. My parents were never without a grand piano after that, and I don’t think Leo ever stopped playing, unless it was at a very advanced age.

* I believe the last year we were in that house is when I was in fourth grade, which would have been around 1958.

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