The Diana Mary Steyer Scholarship Fund
The Diana Mary Steyer Scholarship Fund for Excellence in Music Performance
Endowment in Memory of our Beloved Mother
Helen Sarah Steyer and Thomas Mark Steyer
Diana Mary Steyer was born in Poland into a musical family. Her father, an opera singer (bass-baritone) and member of the Stage Actors Guild of Poland, was also a stage director who managed various theaters throughout Poland, mainly in Bydgoszcz and later in Zamosc (near Lublin) where Diana grew up. Diana’s mother was a classically trained pianist and as a young woman was employed playing piano in theaters during silent film screenings.
Diana dreamed of becoming an opera singer. Throughout her school years she trained in voice, piano, organ and guitar, but her dreams were crushed at the start of World War II, when she was 18 years old and a recent high school graduate. During the German Occupation she was not able to continue her voice and music studies at the Warsaw Conservatory.
In 1943, Diana (who was Catholic) met and married Stanley Steyer, with full knowledge that he was a Jewish man carrying false “Aryan” identity papers. She and her family risked their lives by accepting him lovingly and willingly as a member of their family. During the remaining years of the war, Diana worked with Stanley in his businesses designed to serve as camouflage for helping Jews escape the Warsaw Ghetto and providing weapons to the Ghetto Fighters, at enormous danger to herself. In 1944 both husband and wife were arrested in Tarnow, imprisoned and tortured by the Gestapo. Although suffering beatings in prison, Diana never betrayed that her husband was Jewish.
Several years after the war Stanley and Diana left Poland, arriving first in the United States and later establishing themselves permanently in Caracas, Venezuela. Throughout her life Diana continued to pursue her music studies in voice, piano, and organ. She was a gifted opera singer (lyric soprano) and excelled on the piano, organ and guitar. She was known for her warm personality, grace, sophistication and beauty. Although Diana loved the classical repertoire, she also enjoyed popular music and could play anything by ear on the piano. She had a special affinity for cabaret-style ballads, which she often performed accompanying herself on the guitar. Her musical interests were many, and she enjoyed entertaining both on piano and guitar, singing classical and popular melodies. Music was her great joy, and gave her solace when she deeply missed her parents and family left behind in her beloved Poland during the communist regime.
This scholarship will honor Diana Mary Steyer by commemorating her refined and selfless spirit.
Description of the Fund:
The Diana Mary Steyer Scholarship Fund for Excellence in Music Performance was established in 2017 to invest in the creative musical talent of tomorrow and retain the best and the brightest at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music. Award recipients are Israeli students who exhibit the greatest merit, ingenuity and potential and have significant financial need; the scholarship frees them from their financial burdens so they can devote all their time to their practice. Each is a promising artist who has demonstrated a commitment to elevating the present and future of the Israeli music scene. The Scholarship Fund honors Diana Mary Steyer’s commitment to and involvement with music throughout her life.