Re: [RedHotJazz] Leo Rosner 1918-2008
- How about that - I got a number of medico-legal reports from Leo in personal injury cases over the years, without ever realising he was into jazz.
----- Original Message -----
From: Denis King
Sent: Monday, October 13, 2008 11:05 AM
Subject: [RedHotJazz] Leo Rosner 1918-2008
Leo Rosner 1918-2008
>> Hello Denis and Members,
>> last Friday night, ace accordionist and bass virtuoso, Leo Rosner
>> passed from us. He was 90. Adored in the Jewish community in
>> Melbourne since the 1950's, Leo had come to Australia after spending
>> an horrendous time in a concentration camp during the Nazi holocaust.
>> Born in Krakow in Poland in 1918, Leo studied music early in his life
>> and was playing accordion in his own dance band at age 15. This was
>> right at the beginning of Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Europe.
>> During the Olympic year in Berlin in 1936, Leo composed music (as did
>> brother George, who later went to Hollywood, post 1945); he wrote
>> orchestrations and added the string bass to his many musical skills.
>> During the holocaust, Leo played music in a ghetto orchestra which
>> has been detailed about the concentration camp of Auschwitz. Here, he
>> met drummer, guitarist and swing kid, Coco Schuman who was part of
>> the "Ghetto Swingers". This big orchestra played all the American
>> swing songs forbidden in Germany under Dr. Joseph Goebbels. During
>> this horrendous time in the mid 1940's, these musicians survived
>> purely by luck and their own skills of cunning. Both Leo Rosner and
>> Coco Schuman came to Australia after the war and settled in
>> Melbourne. By the mid 1950's Coco Schuman returned to Europe to
>> continue his career as a guitarist renowned for his modern style and
>> After their liberation in 1945, Leo Rosner moved to Paris where he
>> worked with artist such as Maurice Chevalier, Mistingett, George
>> Ulmer and the brilliant guitarist, Django Reinhart.
>> In 1949 Leo came to Australia, and instantly had work with Denis
>> Farrington's Orchestra in Melbourne. They played the social scene and
>> just about every other combination on radio, records and the early
>> days of television. Leo worked closely around Melbourne playing music
>> for every occasion as well as for the Jewish community who just loved
>> everything about him. During the 1970's Leo and his wife Helen opened
>> a reception house in Elsternwick, and ran that successfully for many
>> years. He continued to play music all over Melbourne until his mid
>> 80's when his health started to falter.
>> He was consulted by movie maker Stephen Spielberg during the
>> production of the block-buster movie "Schindler's List" in 1993 which
>> starred Liam Neeson in the main role. Here Leo was able to give first
>> hand information to the Hollywood director about what actually went
>> on in such a hell hole. Leo's home is adorned by much nostalgia of
>> the past and the photographs which have survived over the years is
>> truly amazing. Leo was always the cheerful and quietly comedic
>> character in a band that set the mirth rolling for a night of magical
>> entertainment. His many records are now retrieved in the National
>> Library Of Australia index. It is a curious thing to ponder what
>> might have been saved from his years in the turbulent European scene
>> of the 1940's. We may never know.
>> He is survived by his lovely wife Helen, and daughters Anna and
>> Francis, and their families and grandchildren.
>> Thank you Leo for a life so well given to the entertainment of
>> others. You were unique and your contribution to music in Australia
>> will be sorely missed.
>> Geoff Orr
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