From an interview I did with Ms Haendel for What’s On in London, published April 2004:

For Ida Haendel, “life is hectic, turmoil. My life’s affected by what’s going on. Instead of saving mankind, people are killing each other. You only achieve by living.” Ida Haendel’s humane musicianship mirrors such concerns. What was the catalyst? “My father’s ambition was to be a violinist. He wanted this for his children. My older sister was given the violin. I saw children play with dolls; that’s not me: I am the violinist here. My mother told me not to. I said, I’m playing the violin and that’s it. I played. I knew I was a violinist.”

Some dictionaries print Haendel’s birth-year as 1928, others 1923. “No! Oh my God. 1928. What happened was the following. It was 1937. Harold Holt wanted to present me [in London]. The council said no child under 14 is allowed to appear. My father and Mr Holt said I was 14. That is what’s recorded.”

Years later, “it never stops. It’s a discovery every day.” Does Ida Haendel routinely practice? I have a routine – I don’t practice. I’m not being facetious. When young people ask for advice, I say don’t practice. You are born with a gift. If you think practise makes perfect, that’s not always true.” Ida Haendel loves the violin’s “human sound and emotional impact. I am a dramatic person. I can also be very funny. I love jokes – but mostly it’s tragedy and tears. This is what I find in music. The condition of the human being is tragic.”