Irmgard's father, Alfred Hess, was the concertmaster of the Frankfurt Philharmonic Orchestra; her uncle Frederick was the principal cellist of the original Chicago Orchestra, which was to change its name to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Her uncle Willy was the director of the Royal High School for music in Berlin. It is not surprising that such notables as Max Bruch and Richard Strauss stayed in her home. A Renaissance woman, who is equally alarmed by how the classical elite has all but thumbed its nose at the audience, befriended me (and my music). She has a deep passion for the arts, and donated the million-dollar Judaica collection of her late husband, Ludwig, to the University of Chicago Library. She feels it is her job as a teacher, let alone her duty as a humanitarian, to offer a connection between the wisdom of her generation and later generations. May the synergy she has created be contagious!
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