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Drug raid

May 6, 2007 |  6:27 am
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May 6, 1957
Los Angeles

1957_0506_bust_2 Saundra died Jan. 11, 1978, 40 years after she dazzled concert-goers as a child prodigy on the violin, like her mother, Frances. In her lifetime, she performed at the Hollywood Bowl with Leopold Stokowski and had roles in "Captain Tugboat Annie" and "An Old Fashioned Girl."

In 1938, when she was 5, Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Otto Klemperer said: "Unbelievable! Simply amazing! I have never heard a child play that way!" She made her New York debut at the age of 7, and continued studying and performing, and was a member of the Girl Scouts the Junior Red Cross.

Reviewing her performance of the Wiewiawski Violin Concerto No. 2, The Times said of the 11-year-old: "The child will go far. She plays with a remarkable maturity and she has developed a personal magnetism that will do much to make her a success. The test will come when she broadens her repertoire to include the deeper and less showy music, classical and contemporary."

The concerts continued into the early 1950s. And then something happened. The stories about concerts disappear. Instead, The Times reports Saundra's arrest in a drug raid. And to make research a challenge, the paper mangled her last name. Sometimes it refers to her as Mzaelle and other times as Mazelle. Only once or twice does The Times get her name right: Maazel. And yes, she was the cousin of New York Philharmonic conductor Lorin Maazel. In fact, they shared the concert stage when they were young, in that performance at the Hollywood Bowl with Leopold Stokowski.

 

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Saundra was arrested May 5, 1957, at 1345 N. Hayworth in Hollywood, one of more than 100 people picked up in a series of drug raids. One of Saundra's companions, Tyra Leal, told police: "I've been smoking marijuana for 23 years and you finally caught up with me."

After the charges against her were dismissed, Saundra, who was then 27, said she planned to get back to performing on the violin. Apparently she never did. Public records give her last name as Macaulay, so she was evidently married. The Times, which once wrote of her tremendous promise, did not note her passing.

Frances Berkova Maazel died Oct. 9, 1982. Pianist Marvin Maazel died Jan. 16, 1989.

 

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