OBITUARY

Annette Block Berger

October 31, 1920November 10, 2014

Annette Block Berger, who rose from humble beginnings as the daughter of Russian immigrant greengrocers to become a highly respected concert pianist, passed away on Monday in West Long Branch, N.J. She was 94 years old Mrs. Berger, of Verona, N.J., and Delray Beach, Fla., died at the home of her daughter Alison Block and son-in-law Barry Shapiro after a vigorous battle with lung cancer. Nee Annette Fishman, Mrs. Berger grew up in Atlantic City, N.J., in a small apartment above her parents’ fruit and vegetable market. At age 13 she entered the scholarship-only Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where, using the name Annette Elkanova, she was classmate and colleague of the late conductor/composer Leonard Bernstein, among other luminaries. There, from 1934 to 1942, she studied under the tutelage of the Russian pianist, Madame Isabelle Vengerova. At her debut alone, at Convention Hall in Atlantic City, she was hailed for her “wrists of steel” in performances of octave-heavy Liszt compositions. By age 21 she was concertizing to impressive reviews, and was a winner of the prestigious Naumberg Award in 1942. Mrs. Berger was widowed three times, losing her first husband, Dr. Charles Block, when she was 34, and her second, businessman Albert Nierenberg, in her mid-40s. . She lost her third husband, international engineer Louis Berger in 1996. Despite the early blows – the loss of Dr. Block and Mr. Nierenberg - she raised and educated three children on her own, by working at the admission-only Arts High School, in Newark, N.J, where she taught music theory and harmony. Mrs. Berger leaves behind three children – Dr. Alison Block, Dr. Gilbert Block, and Deborah Block, and two grandchildren, Matthew and William Block. She is survived also by her son-in-law Barry Shapiro and her daughter-in-law Dr. Julie Low. Memorial services for her will be held Wednesday 1:00pm gravesiide at the Beth Israel Cemetery.

Services

  • Annette Block Berger Wednesday, November 12, 2014
REMEMBERING

Annette Block Berger

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Greg Schwartz

November 14, 2014

Annette, like her sister, was another example of the strong willed women in our family, and had a profound impact on many of our lives. I will miss her, and I offer my condolences to all those that were close to her.

November 13, 2014

Goodbye, Aunt Annette. You will be missed and loved always. Love, Arlene

November 13, 2014

Dear Annette-Your thoughtfulness will always be remembered..Your talents in music are awesome.I am just sorry but in recent years we were not able to continue to share those fun times at dinner, on the golf course,or at a concert, Rita and Harvey
Cohen.

November 13, 2014

Annette was a dear friend and a wonderfully talented pianist. We shared many happy times together with her and Lou but somehow lost touch because illness marked both our lives.She will be sadly missed. Harvey and I regret that illness prevented our making a condolence call. I did send a cancer tribute from us, Dr. Susan and Joseph Pannullo, and Jeffrey and Chris Cohen(our son and daughter and their spouses,). Rita and Harvey Cohen,2103 Latham Court, Livingston

November 12, 2014

My condolences to the family and friends, for your loss. May the God of all comfort give you peace- Isaiah 61:1,2

November 12, 2014

My sincere condolence to the Berger family for the loss of your beloved one. May the God of all comfort and peace strength you during this difficult time.

November 12, 2014

Those Friday nights at my parents' house, where your mom graciously agreed to join us amateurs in making music were among the highlights of my youth. I always found her to be lively, interesting, and of course, a gifted musician! Judy Shapiro Silverman and Paul Silverman

Debra Shapiro

November 12, 2014

I remember your mom so well,playing chamber music with my family on Friday nights for many years. She and Fraida were such good friends. She was an outstanding pianist. She will be missed

November 12, 2014

Dear Alison and Barry: So sorry for the loss of your beloved mother. May she rest in peace. In Florida will be in touch. Heartfelt sympathy to you and your family. Barbara and Art

FROM THE FAMILY