Egon Ledeč

Czech violinist, leader of several chamber ensembles in Theresienstadt (Terezín)

Egon Ledeč, violinist, born March 16, 1889 in Kostelec nad Orlici (Eastern Bohemia). Ledeč studied violin performance at the Prague Conservatory under teacher Otakar Ševečik. In 1908, two years after graduating from the conservatory, Ledeč joined the Czech Philharmonic. Upon completing his army service, Ledeč performed with several Slovak orchestras until rejoining the Czech Philharmonic as an associate concertmaster in 1926. He held this post until the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939.

Ledeč was an active soloist and chamber music player in Terezín. He formed the first chamber ensemble in Terezín, known as the “Doctor’s Quartet” along with Dr. Ilona Král, violinist Viktor Kóhn, and Dr, Klapp. The Doctor’s Quartet staged weekly performances of Haydn, Beethoven and Dvořák quartets in Dr. Klapp’s apartment. Ledeč later formed the “Ledeč Quartet” together with amateur second violinist Schneider, violist Viktor Kohn and his brother Paul Kohn on cello. Early performances of the Ledeč Quartet took place in the “Magdeburg” barracks, until 1942, when the ensemble was allowed to perform openly under the auspices of the Administration of Free Time Activities (Freizeitgestaltung). Ledeč also continued to dabble in composition while in Terezín. His only surviving work from the years 1942-1944 is Gavotte for String Quartet (1942).  Ledeč was deported to Auschwitz on October 16, 1944, and perished in the camp shortly thereafter.