Costa Concordia Violinist Died While Returning for Instrument

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 06:23 PM

A Hungarian violinist who played in a trio aboard the ill-fated Costa Concordia was the first victim of the crash to be identified Wednesday.

Sándor Fehér, 38, was working as a musician on the ship in a combo called the Bianco Trio. In the chaos of the capsizing on Friday, he had helped two distraught children put on their life jackets before returning to his cabin to retrieve his violin, according to witnesses. He had wanted to put the instrument in a safe place.

Jozsef Balogh, a pianist on the ship, told the Hungarian newspaper Blikk that Fehér was last seen on deck, wearing his life jacket and en route to the lifeboat area.

The violinist's body, however, was found inside the wreck, and identified by his mother, the Hungarian government said.

Fehér is 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.

In a Facebook group created looking for sightings of the missing, Fehér’s brother Istvan Fehér wrote, “I can only say thank you to everyone. He really was a good man... Last concert does not end.”

In a video posted last month, Fehér is seen performing Sarasate's Zigeunerweisen and is interviewed by someone off-camera in a kind of online video resume. He explains that he took up the violin at age six, following after his grandfather and father, who were both violinists. He studied at the Franz Liszt Conservatory of Music in Budapest and went on to explore a passion for teaching.

He goes on to explain that he developed a new teaching method that involved using children's rhymes so that students could learn a natural and comfortable way to hold the violin and bow. “I would like teach in other countries out of Europe and use this amazing new system for the next generation of violin players,” he said.

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Comments [14]

SindyW from New York

He gambled his life that those two kids would grow up to be better musicians or better people than he was. What were those odds?

Mar. 23 2012 09:09 PM

It's really tragic that Sándor Fehér died in an accident that could have been avoided altogether, were it not for the actions of one careless cruise ship captain, and I think it's a distraction from Fehér's last heroic acts and the musical accomplishments he accrued in his lifetime by using this forum as a general "what would YOU do" poll on whether one would or wouldn't retrieve an instrument from a sinking ship. OR to even ask what kind of violin he went back for.

Jan. 21 2012 12:09 PM

Poor guy - maybe he was worried about being the subject of one of those embarrassing articles detailing how some clumsy musician leaves a priceless instrument on the subway or in a taxi.

Jan. 20 2012 10:20 PM
Fred from NYC

I think he did what most serious musicians would have done - your instrument becomes an extension of yourself....

Jan. 20 2012 09:06 PM
Stephen from Garden City, NY

He HELPED two distraught children. This is the legacy by which he should be remembered! As a musician I think I would also then return to recover or protect my instrument. For string players the instrument becomes an extension of themselves. It is certainly sad to learn of this man's death, especially after having heard the tape of the conversation between the (so-called) captain and the Italian coast guard.

Jan. 20 2012 11:48 AM
David from Flushing

I happen to have a fourth cousin who retired to the island of Malta. He mentioned to me the other day that this ship frequently called there and that he had seen it many times from his apartment that overlooks the harbor. He seemed to have some familiarity with the ship and mentioned its shallow draft and that modern ships are computer controlled with GPS. This terrible accident would not have happened unless this system was overridden. The captain's behavior tends to confirm some kind of irregularity.

Jan. 20 2012 11:15 AM
Kathryn Riss from New Jersey

Mr. Feher lost his life trying to save a violin. It must have been a remarkable instrument for him to have done that. Would you risk your life for your instrument?

Jan. 20 2012 09:18 AM

Prayers and sympathy to the family ....

Jan. 20 2012 09:13 AM

He shared his gift for music but gave the gift of life. My heart goes out to his family, friends and colleagues.

Jan. 20 2012 08:56 AM

Our sympathies go to the families and friends of all the victims of this disaster!
Mr. Feher is a hero -- a rather unlikely one, it seems -- we have all come to picture heroes in the guise of firefighters, soldiers, doctors who perform miracles, etc., but his sacrifice shows that any man or woman can be an inspiration to us all.

Jan. 19 2012 05:57 PM
concetta nardone from Elmont, NY

What happened to Fred Plotkin?

Jan. 19 2012 01:48 PM
Alonso Alegría from Lima Peru

What kind of violin? How was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

Jan. 19 2012 11:19 AM
Kathryn Riss

Naturally, we want to know what kind of violin he was using that was lost in the incident.

Jan. 19 2012 11:01 AM
Marguerite ashton from Wisconsin

You'll be missed.

Jan. 19 2012 10:38 AM

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