George Horner, a 90-year-old retired physician from Newtown Square, admitted yesterday to “being nervous” for the first time. Significant for a man who narrowly escaped death from Nazi firing squads in 1944.
The former Jefferson University Medical School professor made his orchestral debut last night, playing piano alongside superstar cellist Yo Yo Ma at Boston’s Symphony Hall. The concert benefitted the Terezin Music Foundation, whose mission is to preserve the musical legacy of musicians who died in the Holocaust.
“I thought it was a joke when Mark Ludwig, the founder of Terezin Music, suggested playing with Yo Yo Ma," said Horner. “I never imagined if I did get to perform this music again for an audience, it would be with someone of the caliber of Yo Yo Ma.”
Horner's family, originally from Moravia, was shipped to the Terezin Concentration Camp in 1944. He found comfort by playing the piano and accordion with other musicians, including composers Gideon Klein and Karel Svenk.