Zuzana Ruzickova 1927 – 2017

 September 27, 2017 — Zuzana died peacefully today in her sleep in Prague.

Zuzana meant so much to everyone who knew her and she gave so much to them and to the thousands of people around the world who heard her in concert and listened to her recordings.

Zuzana was a remarkable woman of dignity and humanity and great strength of character. She will be missed by all of us and we shall continue as the directors of this foundation to use film, music, and educational materials to continue to promote her values and her enormous contributions to people young and old across the world.


Click here to see obituaries in the world’s media including a New Yorker magazine tribute by harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, Zuzana’s last student and a leading interviewee in the movie ZUZANA: MUSIC IS LIFE.

Mahan with the Czech Radio Symphony performed Viktor Kalabis’s 1975 magnificent concerto written for Zuzana. The concert was dedicated to her memory.



The film is increasingly being screened in Europe and in the United States and full updated details can be found at the website of the the film’s directors/producers – Harriet and Peter Getzels at www.zuzanathemovie.com

“Her story sounds like a movie. Now, it is one.” – Anne Midgette in The Washington Post , May 21 2017.

As the Aspen FilmFest opened on October 3, 2017, with a screening of Zuzana: Music Is Life – the new feature documentary – so the Aspen Times wrote: “When people ask me how I was able to survive, I always say, ‘It was a hundred miracles,'” Ruzickova says in the film.

“Talking to Ruzickova, you feel anything is possible. Happy birthday, then, to one of the wonders of the musical world,” BBC Magazine, December 2016 ahead of Zuzana’s 90th birthday in January 2017. 

ZUZANA: MUSIC IS LIFE  – a full-length documentary about the life and music of Zuzana Ruzickova. This is the story of a young Czech musician persecuted and battered by the horrors of 20th century Europe, and how her passion for classical and baroque music, – and Bach in particular – helped her to survive and drove her to become one of the greatest international harpsichordists of the last 60 years.

International harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani rehearses as Zuzana Ruzickova comments – scene from the new movie

ZUZANA: MUSIC IS LIFE is sponsored by the Viktor Kalabis and Zuzana Ruzickova Foundation. The film will be entered into several film festivals in the first half of 2017 and show more widely thereafter. Details from the film’s Director and Producer are at www.zuzanathemovie.com


News of Performances of Works by Viktor Kalabis – at EVENTS 


Please consider contributing to the marketing and distribution of ZUZANA: MUSIC IS LIFE . Contributions to the Foundation are tax deductible for U.S. citizens. (Current supporters are listed below on this page.)


Zuzana with a Harpsichord
Zuzana had a remarkable life and served as an extraordinary role model. She was born in 1927 in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia and lived most of her adult life in Prague. Her teenage years were spent in Nazi concentration camps. For four decades she, and her composer husband Viktor Kalabis, were oppressed by the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia. Yet​, she became widely acclaimed across the world as “the first lady of the harpsichord” – she made over 100 recordings, received many honors across the world and brought great joy to audiences for over 50 years. She says: “Bach saved my life.”

The Times (London), Le Monde, BBC Magazine and many other major media have recently interviewed Zuzana and published extraordinary articles about her life and music in recent times. Just ahead of her 90th birthday in January 2017,  Warner Records/ ERATO’s released a remastered 20 CD set of original recordings by Zuzana of the entire keyboard works of J. S. Bach.


​N​ow available on Amazon ​

​N​ow available on Amazon ​   See BBC Review 

Zuzana Ruzickova is the only artist to have recorded the entire J. S. Bach keyboard compositions. A full description of the CDs, their importance and background on Zuzana can be found in the Review section of this site – ​(from Warner Records)


Directed and Produced by Peter Getzels and Harriet Gordon Getzels and edited by Catherine Shields. Senior Advisors and Executive Producers Emily Vogl and Frank Vogl. Special Advisor in Prague Ales Brezina.

GETZELS GORDON PRODUCTIONS (G2) is a film company with a long track record of award-winning documentaries made in over 35 countries for British, American and European television. Their recent work includes a U.S Public Television series (PBS) called China’s Challenges; the highly acclaimed movie on immigration into the United States Harvest of Empire; the major PBS series, Closer To Truth – Cosmos, Consciousness and God, a global journey in search of the vital ideas of existence. Films by Harriet and Peter have won over 25 international awards including an Emmy Governor’s Award and two Emmy nominations.

SUPPORTERS: We are most appreciative of the generous support for the film from:
Executive Producers Emily Vogl & Frank Vogl and The Viktor Kalabis & Zuzana Ruzickova Foundation (USA).
Executive Producer William R. Rhodes in loving memory of Louise Tilzer Rhodes.

And with the special support from
Leila Straus  – Virginia  E. Newmyer – Louis Smith & Chris Mudd – Emily & Antoine van Agtmael – Sachi Liebergesell – Marc and Megara Vogl – Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines – ​Diane and Norman Bernstein​ – Bonnie Simon.

and, – Susan Beckerman – Julia Vogl – Peter and Stephanie Vogl – James and Nikki Vogl – Michael and Marion Usher – Owen and Barbara Katzman – Alex and Pat Shakow – Michael and Catherine Farrell – Rima Calderon – Barbara Kafka – Jack and Carol Feder – Anonymous.



As the critics see it – articles from the Washington Post, US News and World Report, The Washingtonian

“The Sprit of Bach,” BBC Magazine (print edition) and shorter online version under the heading “The Miraculous Life of Zuzana Ruzickova”: BBC Magazine, December 19, 2016, based on a BBC Radio 4 interview.

From The Times (London), October 16, 2016 – Profile of Zuzana

From Le Monde (Paris) December 5/6,  2016, Zuzana Ruzickova, des camps de travail à l’apaisement du clavecin

From Italy’s Playground. – online magazine December 2016.

Gramophone Magazine (UK)  – reviews Zuzana’s Complete Bach recordings, January 2017.

From Harmonie magazine in Prague, December 2016 (in Czech)

A message from the executive producers →Poster Nov 27 2017 ZuzanaFilmPoster