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Pannonica de Koenigswarter I1913 – 1988
Baroness Kathleen Pannonica de Koenigswarter was a British-born jazz patron and writer. She was a leading patron of bebop music, and a member of the Rothschild family.  

Born in December 1913 in London she was the youngest daughter of Charles Rothschild and his wife Hungarian baroness Rózsika Edle von Wertheimstein who was the daughter of Baron Alfred von Wertheimstein of Transylvania.

She was born into one of the wealthiest families in the world at the time and her paternal grandfather was Nathan Rothschild, 1st Baron Rothschild.  The name "Pannonica" (shortened to ‘Nica’ as a nickname) derives from Eastern Europe's Pannonian plain.

Her good friend Thelonious Monk suggested that she was named after a 'species of butterfly' that her father had discovered, although her great-niece has found out that the source of the name is actually a rare species of a moth.

She was a niece of Walter Rothschild, the 2nd Baron Rothschild and her brother Victor Rothschild became the 3rd Baron Rothschild.

In 1935 she married French diplomat Baron Jules de Koenigswarter and in 1937 they bought and moved to the Château d'Abondant, a 17th century Château in north-west France which they acquired from the family of American banker Henry Herman Harjes. She actually worked for Charles de Gaulle during World War II.

The couple separated in 1951 and she moved to New York City and permanently rented a suite at The Stanhope Hotel and left behind five children. 

As a result of their separation she was disinherited by her family, the Rothschilds.The couple eventually divorced in 1956. In 1958 she purchased a house with a Manhattan skyline view which had been originally been built for film director Josef von Sternberg in New Jersey.

Nica de Koenigswarter died of heart failure in 1988, aged 74 at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City.

In New York she became a friend and patron of many prominent jazz musicians of the day hosting jam sessions in her hotel suite and often driving them in her Bentley when they needed a lift to performances as well as sometimes helping them to pay rent, buy groceries and making hospital visits. 

Although not a musician herself she is sometimes referred to as the 'Bebop Baroness' or 'Jazz Baroness' because of her patronage of artists such as  Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker among others.

Following Parker's death in her Stanhope Hotel room in 1955 she was asked to leave by the hotel management and re-located to the Bolivar Hotel in Central Park West, a building commemorated in Thelonious Monk's 1956 composition 'Ba-lue Bolivar Ba-lues-are'.

She was introduced to Thelonious Monk by jazz pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams in Paris while attending the 'Salon du Jazz 1954'. She championed his work in the United States and even wrote the liner notes for his 1962 Columbia album Criss-Cross.

She even took criminal responsibility when she and Monk were charged with marijuana possession by Delaware police in 1958 spending a few nights in jail. She was sentenced to three years in prison. After a two-year legal battle that was financed by her family the case was dismissed in a court of appeals on a technicality.

She was a regular customer at many of New York's avant-garde jazz clubs including the Five Spot Café, the Village Vanguard, Birdland and Small's.

In 1957 she bought a new piano for the Five Spot because she thought the existing one was not good enough for Monk's performances there.

During the 1950s she was licensed as a manager by the American Federation of Musicians and her clients included Horace SilverHank MobleySir Charles Thompson and The Jazz Messengers.

After Monk ended his public performances in the mid-1970s he retired to Nica's house in Weehawken, New Jersey, where he died in 1982.

She used her inherited wealth to pay for the funerals and burial grounds for several jazz musician friends, including Bud PowellSonny Clark and Coleman Hawkins.

Her relentless support for the jazz genre helped many artists and her legacy will be associated with jazz lovers around the world forever.

* Also see :-Louis Armstrong Biography
* Also see :- Dave Brubeck Biography
* Also see :- John Hammond Biography
* Also see :- 52nd Street
* Also see :- Tin Pan Alley
* Also see :- The History Of Jazz

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