Early careerBorn in 1928 to a family in , , her talents were evident when she picked up her sister's violin at the age of three. Major competition wins paved the way for success. Performing the , she won the 's
Performing careerAfter performing the Jean Sibelius, Sibelius Violin Concerto (Sibelius), concerto in Helsinki in 1949, she received a letter from the composer. "You played it masterfully in every respect," Sibelius wrote, adding: "I congratulate myself that my concerto has found an interpreter of your rare standard." Haendel made annual tours of Europe, and also appeared regularly in South America and Asia. Living in Montreal, Canada from 1952 to 1989, her collaborations with Canadian orchestras made her a key celebrity of Canadian musical life. As a British subject resident in Canada, she acquired Canadian citizenship. Performing with the London Philharmonic in 1973, she was the first Western soloist invited to China following the Cultural Revolution. Although she worked particularly with Sergiu Celibidache, she was also associated with Sir Thomas Beecham, Sir Adrian Boult, Sir Eugene Aynsley Goossens, Eugene Goossens, Sir Malcolm Sargent, Charles Munch (conductor), Charles Munch, Otto Klemperer, Sir Georg Solti, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Bernard Haitink, Rafael Kubelík, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta and Simon Rattle, with whom she recorded the Violin Concerto (Elgar), Elgar and Sibelius violin concertos. In 1993, she made her concert début with the Berliner Philharmoniker. In 2006 she performed for Pope Benedict XVI at the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Later engagements include a tribute concert at London's National Gallery in honour of Dame Myra Hess's War Memorial Concerts and an appearance at the Sagra Musicale Malatestiana Festival in 2010. Haendel's violin was a Stradivarius of 1699. Haendel had lived in Miami, Florida, for many years and was actively involved in the Miami International Piano Festival.
RecordingsHaendel's major label recordings have earned critical praise. The Sibelius Society awarded her the Sibelius Medal in 1982. She said she always had a passion for German music. Her recording career began on 10 September 1940 for Decca Label Group, Decca, initially of short solo pieces and chamber works. In April 1945, she recorded both the Violin Concerto (Tchaikovsky), Tchaikovsky and Violin Concerto (Mendelssohn), Mendelssohn concertos followed in 1947 by the Violin Concerto (Dvořák), Dvořák concerto. Her recording career spanned nearly 70 years for major labels including EMI and Harmonia Mundi. In 1948–49 she recorded 's , with Rafael Kubelik conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra. In 2014, Supraphon issued a 5-CD set of her live and studio recordings made in Prague between 1957 and 1965. Other acclaimed recordings are her renditions of the Johannes Brahms, Brahms Violin Concerto (Brahms), Violin Concerto (including one with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sergiu Celibidache, his last studio recording, and Tchaikovsky's with the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Basil Cameron. Geoffrey Norris, music critic for ''The Daily Telegraph, The Telegraph'', praised her 1993 recording of the Sibelius concerto, later released by Testament Records, as "simply mind-blowing." Among her later recordings were the Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin (Bach), Sonatas and partitas for solo violin, BWV1001-1006 by Johann Sebastian Bach, J. S. Bach, recorded at Studio 1 Abbey Road, London, in 1995 recorded in analogue and issued by Testament. She was equally passionate about the music of the 20th century, including Béla Bartók, Benjamin Britten and William Walton. Among her premiere performances were Luigi Dallapiccola's ''Tartiniana Seconda'', and Allan Pettersson's Violin Concerto No. 2, which was dedicated to her. Paying tribute to her teacher George Enescu, her Decca recording of his Violin Sonata with Vladimir Ashkenazy in 2000 earned her a Diapason d'Or.
TeachingHaendel's emotive performances have inspired a generation of new violinists, including Anne-Sophie Mutter, David Garrett (musician), David Garrett and Maxim Vengerov. In August 2012 she was honorary artist at the Cambridge International String Festival. She was a regular adjudicator for violin competitions, including the Sibelius, the Carl Flesch, the Benjamin Britten, and the International Violin Competition. She returned to her native Poland to judge the Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition in Poznań on a number of occasions, and was honorary chairwoman in 2011.
DeathHaendel died at a nursing home in Pembroke Park, Pembroke Park, Florida on 1 July 2020, aged 91. According to her nephew, she had been suffering from kidney cancer at the time of her death.
Honours and awardsIn 1991 she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Elizabeth II, Queen Elizabeth II. She received honorary doctorates from the Royal College of Music, London, in 2000 and from McGill University in 2006.
BibliographyHaendel published her autobiography, ''Woman With Violin'', in 1970 (Gollancz; ).
TelevisionHer life has been the subject of several television documentaries, including ''Ida Haendel: A Voyage of Music'' (1988), ''I Am The Violin'' (2004), and ''Ida Haendel: This Is My Heritage'' (2011). In June 2009, she appeared on a Channel 4 television programme, ''The World's Greatest Musical Prodigies'', in which she advised the then 16-year-old British composer Alex Prior on which children to choose to play his composition.