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Daniel Libeskind and Vera Stern

There’s More Than One Way
To Get To Carnegie Hall

By Tim Boxer

RCHITECTURE wasn’t the first career choice for Daniel Libeskind, who’s in charge of the renewal of Ground Zero. Growing up in Lodz, he wanted to be a musician.

Anti-Semitism was rampant in post-war Poland. His parents were afraid to bring a piano into the courtyard where the neighbors were jealous and hostile, to say the least. So they got him an accordion, which could be hidden.

“I was seven years old,” he related. “I was so small that all you could see were my hands and feet.”

Libeskind and his parents went to Israel “where music is appreciated.”

Vera Stern, president of the American-Israel Cultural Foundation, presented Libeskind with the 2003 Aviv Award at its annual concert at Carnegie Hall. She reminded him that the organization had given him a two-year music scholarship when he was living in Israel.

“Your dream was to get to Carnegie Hall,” Stern said. “You finally made it, but in the field of architecture.”

Libeskind switched when he became an American citizen in 1965.

“Architecture is like music,” he said. “It’s a part of the human soul. It touches people beyond borders, like music.”

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