In researching Jewish pianists for the recently-published Vladimir Horowitz profile, we ran into famed Polish/British virtuoso, Andre Tchaikowsky. Strange for someone with that name to be Jewish, we thought. Could he be related to Peter Tchaikovsky?
Turns out, no. Andre was born as Robert Andrzej Krauthammer. To survive the Warsaw ghetto, he was given a different last name and smuggled out. We could only guess if the selection of that name as a child had a connection with his chosen profession as an adult.
So, not related to Peter. Yet there is also something fascinating about Andre that goes beyond his prowess as a pianist. You see, he also became an actor... after his death. Andre, who died from cancer at the age of 46, donated his skull to the Royal Shakespeare Company. For years, he (well, his skull) appeared as (who else!) Yorick in Hamlet. This is Andre today.
Somehow, we wish we didn't research this one this deeply...