George Sarlo


George Sarlo made a new life for himself in California after surviving the Holocaust and World War Two. He grew up under Hungarian fascism and under Russia’s communist regime and lost nearly his entire family in concentration and labor camps.

When George Sarlo arrived in the United States in 1956 as an 18-year-old refugee, he had $5 in his pocket. Over the decades, he worked hard for his education and found success as a wealthy venture capitalist and philanthropist. From the outside, George appears to be someone who has overcome the horrors of history to achieve success. Inwardly, however, he suffers from grief and depression and struggles to make sense of his losses including that of his father at the tender age of 4 years old.

George sought me out as a guide to pursue music as a means of self expression and healing his past traumas. At 84 years old, George is also struggling with memory loss. Music is a tool he uses to re-connect the dots, improve his recollection, express his complex emotions, and find his center. 

George sings the songs of Bob Dylan and the Beatles, as well as classical arias with powerful emotion and authenticity bringing a depth of expression I have never heard before. There is complexity and clarity and heart in his rendering. His voice is arresting and true and prompts reexamination of the greater meaning of these classic songs that already hold historical significance. When George sings these songs it is proof they hold as much relevance today as the day they were penned. 

George is developing a collection of songs he intends to share with his friends and family at an upcoming event. In addition to bringing to life his favorite classics, George intends to pen some original songs to tell his own story.