Born in Chelm, Poland Ida Haendel began playing the violin when only three and a half years of age. Her father, an artist, recognised her talent and subsequently devoted as much time as possible towards furthering her career. Her studies began at the Warsaw Conservatoire where she gained a gold medal at the age of seven and won the Huberman Prize. After leaving Poland she continued her studies with Carl Flesch and later with George Enescu.
Ida Haendel began her professional career as a child prodigy at the Queen's Hall in London under the baton of Sir Henry Wood, playing Brahms Violin Concerto. During the War she lived in London becoming a British subject, and gave many concerts for the troops. Her international career developed as soon as the War was over, performing world-wide throughout Europe, Israel, North and South America and the Far East and the USSR.
A regular visitor to all UK major orchestras she has accompanied them on many foreign tours; the London Philharmonic to the first Hong Kong Arts Festival (1973) and on their subsequent tour of China, the BBC Symphony to Germany, Australia and Hong Kong and the English Chamber Orchestra to Mexico. Ida Haendel collaborated with such eminent conductors as Haitink, Rattle, Decker, Sanderling and Ashkenazy. She made regular appearances at major festivals such as Edinburgh and the BBC Proms, as she did in 1994 with the BBC Symphony and Andrew Davis.
As well as in the UK, she worked with leading conductors and prominent orchestras around the world, and in 1998 took part in a tour to Japan with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. Engagements have included the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic and Bayerisches Staatsorchester.
Ida Haendel speaks seven languages and has published the first part of her autobiography (Woman with Violin, Victor Gollancz). In 1982, she was awarded the Sibelius Medal by the Sibelius Society of Finland on the 25th Anniversary of the composer's death, in recognition of her distinguished performances of his Violin Concerto. In the 1991 New Year's honours list she was awarded a CBE for her outstanding services to music.
Ida Haendel has recorded for EMI and Decca. In 1996 her recording of Bach solo works on the Testament label was released and she completed her chamber music recordings with Vladimir Ashkenazy for Decca.