Zuzana, Music is Life

A story of love, tyranny and triumph

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Zuzana Růžičková — Pianist

Program notes

After a happy childhood, Zuzana Růžičková’s adult years were marked equally by tyranny and triumph. Persecuted for 40 years in Czechoslovakia for having refused to join the Communist Party, during the same period she became a legend of the harpsichord, internationally celebrated for her interpretation of Bach’s music. “I felt that it had to be some sort of joke”, she said of the Communists who replaced the Nazis after World War II. “I was so carried away by my music that I didn’t think about politics; this was of course a big mistake”.

Zuzana: Music is Life describes the endurance of the harpsichordist and her colleagues in the face of the rise of the 20th century’s most authoritarian regime. Růžičková is the only person to have ever record Bach’s complete works for her instrument, a recording re-released in 2016 by Warner Music in 20 CDs. Mixing recordings made throughout her life with interviews, this documentary proves more than ever the eternal appeal of Bach’s work and the power of music to offer hope and life even in the darkest moments.

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