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Violinist bitten by lethal spider at Lucerne Festival

A bite from an exotic spider endangered the life of Daniel Roehn, a first violinist at the Lucerne Festival. During rehearsals for  Beethoven’s Eroica, Brahms Tragic Overture and Lied der Waldtaube from Schönberg’s Gurre-Lieder, Daniel’s leg became red and swollen.

spider bite


After the first concert he was admitted to hospital with a high fever. What seemed to be an infected mosquito bit was later diagnosed as the bite of the deadly violin spider,  Loxosceles reclusa, of Texas origin. Daniel was on a drip for three nights before he could return to the orchestra.
daniel roehn


The incident has not been reported on his website or in Swiss media. We have received this account from a mutual friend and we share it with considerable sympathy, having suffered a similar bite while conducting a Lebrecht Interview in Italy a few years ago.

Daniel is a grandson of Erich Roehn, Wilhelm Furtwängler’s Berlin Philharmonic concertmaster; his father was concertmaster of the Bavarian Radio Orchestra for nearly 30 years.


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  1. Michael P. Scott says:

    What are the odds of a violinist being bit by a violin spider? I checked the date to assure myself that today wasn’t April 1st and visited Google before I was convinced I wasn’t part of a droll Lebrectian prank.

    What a story. Keep us posted on Daniel’s recovery!

  2. Sandra Fuller says:

    If he was practicing at the hospital… what a treat for the patients and staff !!!!!
    I’m glad he recovered.

  3. Of Texas Origin? That stinks. How did a Texas spider make it to Switzerland?

  4. With any luck, Roussel’s “le Festin de l’araignée” will be on next summer’s programme.

  5. I live in Texas and have never heard of this spider. We don’t have any in Houston.

  6. Nora Klein, M. D. says:

    More: You mean the Brown Recluse Spider, sometimes called the “fiddle spider” because supposedly there is a mark like a fiddle on its back…a misconception, really. These do live in a wide swath of the southwest of the US, certainly not just Texas (and almost never in Houston unless rarely in the dusty attic of an old wooden house).

  7. Paul D. Sullivan, MA. says:

    Info. of this arachnid can be found here:

  8. I was treated for a bite from this spider in upstate New York. I was on major antibiotics through IV for 18 days and yes, there is a violin shaped marking on the back of this spider. It is no misconception.

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