Tickling the ivories at 100

June 12, 2014 by Ayal Tusia
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John Harband established a jazz-band in Melbourne shortly after the end of WWII which entertained Elizabeth Taylor and the Queen during their official visits to Australia…and at the age of 100 he is still entertaining.


Party time

Party time

In 1939,  the young Austrian travel agent John Harband emigrated to Melbourne.

As WWII approached, John saved his life on Kristallnacht by hiding behind a counter at work. He soon after obtained an Australian tourist visa to leave Europe for safer ground.

John Harvand

John Harband

He found a sales job in a radio parts business, however, deep inside his dream was to start a career in music.

Both leader and pianist for the band, John composed many tunes; however, the recording equipment was far from ideal. Out of necessity for the need to have better equipment, John put music aside to create his own reproducer.

Featuring the lightest weighing styli in the world, J. H. Reproducers became famous nationwide and internationally. Later on, John sold the patent to Sony and went back to his biggest passion in life – composing and playing music.

Recently John marked his 100th birthday at Montefiore Homes Community Residence, where he currently lives with his wife Raie. Over 100 guests gathered to celebrate with John, including his daughter Genie, granddaughters, friends, residents, Jewish Care staff and volunteers and Magen David Adom’s President Glynis Lipson, who presented John with a certificate.

John entertained his guests with a piano masterclass and enjoyed participating in dancing with other residents and friends.

“It’s hard to believe that I’m already 100 years old, – said John. – The truth is that is doesn’t really matter how old you are: fifty, seventy or one hundred… As long as your head works well and your legs still walk… And you have something to live for. Enough on that! Let me play a song for you.”

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