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Laurie Niles

Violinist Sándor Fehér (1973-2012) -- victim of cruise ship disaster

January 18, 2012 at 11:29 PM

The first victim identified in the cruise ship Costa Concordia disaster in Italy is a violinist from Hungary who worked as an entertainer aboard the ship, who had apparently gone back to his cabin to pack up his violin.

Sándor Fehér, 38, was among 11 people confirmed dead so far in the accident, which occurred when the ship carrying 4,200 passengers collided with a reef Friday and turned on its side.


Fehér had helped a number of crying children to put on lifejackets, and he was wearing a lifejacket himself when he apparently went back to his cabin to pack his violin, pianist Jozsef Balog said, according to several news reports.

Fehér came from a musical family -- both his father and grandfather played the violin -- and started playing the violin when he was six years old, according to a video clip that the violinist had posted on YouTube in December. He graduated in 1998 from the Franz Lizst Academy in Budapest, where he studied with László Dénes.

He taught violin lessons to students ages six through 20 and believed strongly in a method devised by his teacher Dénes, as well as by Rudolf Nemeth and Judit Szaszne-Reger, called Violin ABC. The method is known better in Hungary and Germany than in the United States. He described it as a method that included folk songs from all over the world, and he said he aspired to teach in other countries and to "use this amazing system for the next generation of violin players."

From Gene Huang
Posted on January 19, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Very sorry to hear. What a tragic event... :(
From Clark McCormick
Posted on January 19, 2012 at 1:44 AM
From Michael Pijoan
Posted on January 19, 2012 at 5:12 AM
How sad to lose someone so dedicated to helping new generations of violin players. Rest in peace.
From Simon Streuff
Posted on January 19, 2012 at 10:28 AM
That is sad! I always think, when i go on board of a ship, train or airplane, would I go without my violin in case of emergency. The answer was mostly: no, i would try to take it with me. Hearing this makes me change my mind.
From Ian Stewart
Posted on January 19, 2012 at 12:44 PM
This is truly tragic. I worked on cruise ships in the Mediterranean, my first season was seven and a half months through the summer. No doubt Fehér would have had the same emergency training as all musicians had, which would have included not taking personal possessions, and certainly not going back for them.
This is in no way criticism of an obviously brave, generous and good musician who helped others first. I only mention this for any other musicians who decide to play on cruise ships.
From Juergen L. Hemm
Posted on January 19, 2012 at 1:06 PM
How elated Sándor must have been when the confirmation of his cruise ship job came through - to escape the grey skies and winterly cold of Central Europe for a trip on a magnificent cruise liner in the balmy mediterranean climate, getting paid for what he loved best: playing his violin and bringing joy to his audience. Then, a young life cut short by this incomprehensible tragedy - just so sad.
From Tom Holzman
Posted on January 19, 2012 at 2:34 PM
So sad.
From Paul Deck
Posted on January 19, 2012 at 2:46 PM
I agree with Simon. We often talk about how we treat our violins like our children. But there's a difference. I often wonder if I would try to retrieve my violin if my home were on fire. But that self-conversation inevitably ends with the conclusion that a violin is still just a very pretty wooden box and it is not worth risking my life. My children -- the real ones -- now that is another matter. None of that changes the fact, however, that this man's death is a tragedy that we individually and collectively grieve.
From Mike Russo
Posted on January 19, 2012 at 3:51 PM
This is of course, very sad. I just wonder though....the violin he was playing, maybe it wasn't just any old instrument to him....could have been passed down through his family, could have held a lot of sentimental value.
From Suzanne Ward-Close
Posted on January 19, 2012 at 6:20 PM
This is a tragic loss.
He helped children put on their life-jackets, what a selfless act.
His memory will live on with the children he helped to rescue and those he has taught.
God bless you
From Cristian Gruber
Posted on January 19, 2012 at 9:07 PM
It's amazing how someone can be so selfless at a time of such panic and mayhem, when most people are only concerned with their own self preservation. He quite possibly may have saved the lives of all those children he helped. It is really tragic to hear that someone who dedicated themselves to others in this has was met with such a tragic end. R.I.P
From Laurie Niles
Posted on January 19, 2012 at 9:20 PM
With all the frustration over the captain leaving the ship in a time of such distress, this man's actions are heroic. Not that I feel I can heap criticism on the captain or on anyone who simply saved his or her own life; I can't even imagine what kind of panic everyone was feeling.
From Trevor Jennings
Posted on January 20, 2012 at 12:35 AM
I can do no more than to whole-heartedly agree with the above comments in respect of the death of a very brave man who will surely be remembered.

I read this blog on my desktop PC and an iPad. On the iPad, but not on the PC, at the bottom of the screen on which this blog is displayed there were two ads which left a bad taste in my mouth. One advertised cruises for the over 50s, the other advertised parking and hotel arrangements for people going on cruises.

How crass and unfeeling of those advertisers when several people have died, about 20 are missing, and thousands are grieving.

From Peter Charles
Posted on January 23, 2012 at 9:34 AM
Words completely fail me. Tragic for him, his family, music and also for all those others that died.
From Wanda Parker
Posted on January 23, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Certainly this wonderful, caring man is playing his most loved violin in Heaven like he has never imagined he could ever play for those who were waiting there for him! I lost both my parents in a 4mo span from Aug. to Dec. 2011. They loved music and they are listening to him play along with many other talented musicians who are there too. Wow! What a great loss we will feel but what a wonderful concert we will all experience when we join them all there!

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