Pupil of Paderewski Made Debut at Nine
Maryla Jonas, forty-eight, celebrated Polish pianist
who was hailed as "the most extraordinary woman pianist of our time,"
died Friday at her home, 952 Fifth Ave.
Miss Jonas was afflicted with a rare blood disease
and had not appeared on the concert stage for two years.
She had been a concert artist since the age of nine.
Born in Warsaw in 1911,
Miss Jonas made her debut with the Warsaw Philharmonic in 1920.
Despite her father's initial protests,
she became a pupil of Paderewski
and continued to take lessons from him whenever he was in Poland.
Won Chopin Prize
At fifteen she made a successful debut in Germany
which led to a series of recitals at the Mozart festivals
at Salzburg and Bayreuth.
In 1932 Miss Jonas won the International Chopin Prize
and a year later she received the International Beethoven Prize,
both of which brought her into the forefront of the musical world.
Just before the Nazis invaded Poland,
she was married to a noted Polish criminologist
who later died—along with her parents and a brother—as
a member of the resistance.
Miss Jonas spent several months in concentration camps,
refusing an offer to go to Berlin and play for Hitler.
Fled to Brazil
Several months later a German officer who had once heard her play
helped her escape to Berlin,
where she was given a passport to Rio de Janeiro by the Brazilian Embassy.
But her nerves and talent had gone to pieces from the strain
and she spent several months in a sanatorium,
refusing to play the piano.
About this time another famous Polish pianist, Artur Rubinstein,
came to Rio on tour. and tried to get her to return to the keyboard.
He tricked her into it by telling her to play while he tested the acoustics
in the concert hall where he was to perform.
She played for four full hours.
Played at Carnegie Hall
After touring South and Central America for several years
Miss Jonas slipped quietly and unheralded into New York
for her North American debut in Carnegie Hall.
The ushers almost outnumbered the audience
the night of Feb. 25, 1946,
but Jerome D. Bohm, Herald Tribune music critic,
wrote the next day that she was
"the finest woman pianist since Teresa Carreno"
(a Venezuelan artist of the early 1900s).
Mr. Bohm predicted that Miss Jonas on her next appearance
"will be greeted not by a handful of listeners . . . but
by the sold-out house which such artistry as hers deserves."
And such was the case.
Five weeks later the hall was sold out.
Managers across the country clamored for her appearance and she complied.
In 1952 she was stricken with a rare blood disease
and did not return to the stage until 1956.
Since that time, however, she gave only a few concerts.
In 1946 she married Dr. Ernest G. Abraham,
an endocrinologist who is associated with Mt. Sinai Hospital.
He is also vicepresident of the International College of Surgeons.
Surviving, besides her husband, are a brother, Severyn J. Jonas,
and a sister, Mrs. Bertha Holin.