Stanley Sagov Biography

Stanley Sagov is a dazzling jazz pianist and composer who is skilled on a number of other music instruments and who is also skilled with surgical instruments, as he simultaneously has a full time career as a medical doctor. He constantly amazes his colleagues in both music and in medicine with his ability to lead such an intense dual life both as a physician and as a musician.

Dr. Sagov is always releasing a new CD and he produces enough music to fill the contents of a full CD almost every month in his home studio. Sagov is also a top notch photographer who shoots nature, people and places with the eyes of an unusually sensitive personality.

Born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1944 to a Jewish family that had immigrated there to escape the chaos and anti-Semitism that followed the Russian Revolution, the young Sagov grew up in the midst of the horrid South African regime of Apartheid and its resulting police state.

The young boy was born with Gordon’s Syndrome, an extremely rare genetic disorder which can cause club feet, cleft palate, dysplasia of the hip and also thumb in palm deformity. He suffered greatly as he was forced to endure the horrors of sixteen different surgeries in London, New York and Boston during his first 13 years to help correct various deformities. At school he was stigmatized and teased by other boys because of his awkward gait and the necessity of wearing leg irons for many years. Marked by this great difficulty, he had a sudden insight at an early age.

“This was not my fault,” says Sagov, “Suddenly there was a realization about this around age 9. I remember walking uphill from a violin lesson one day and suddenly understanding the parallel between my being stigmatized for looking unusual and the terrible way that black people in South Africa were being treated by whites. How could others think that this was something that I had willed or caused and for which I should be blamed?” It is actually a genetic disease affecting both my daughters and my grand daughter.

“No one in my family played music professionally though my mother dabbled in it a bit, but when I was age six, I suddenly asked to play the violin. I have no idea why I did this! I was a bad but enthusiastic violinist! I remember wearing a British school uniform with a dark jacket and gray pants in the winter and riding on the top level of the English style double-decker buses with my quarter-sized violin. I had leg irons on because of the multiple surgeries and I must have been a strange sight.”

“I always felt a kinship with the black people of my country. The Passover story with its themes of being strangers in a strange land and needing to be freed from slavery and oppression and the cruelty and mass murder of my fellow Jews and family members in anti-semitic Europe resonated with my perceptions of the unjust society in which I was living. All white people in South Africa had servants, even if you were extremely poor and on welfare, you had servants. Our servants would carry me around and take care of me and I sensed a kind of nobility about the Bantu people in Cape Town. They had a lot of pride. In those days [the ‘50s] there were so many more black people than white. The ratio was about 4 to 1.”

Cape Town was the legislative capital and in those days there were only three white members of parliament who strenuously opposed the ruling nationalist party. One of them came to stay with the Sagov family during the 6 month legislative session every year and had a great impact on the young Stanley.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE: SagovBioDesign.pdf

I was immobilized for a long time in England . . . and there was a blues revival happening . . .