Pianist, teacher, and philanthropist Heida Hermanns was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, in 1906. She received her first piano lessons from her mother, Alice Goldschmidt Hermanns, and when she was 15 she enrolled at the Berlin Hochschule fur Musik. Her teachers included Egon Petri, Artur Schnabel, Carl Friedberg and Isabella Vengerova.

She made her debut with the Berlin Philharmonic at age 18 and toured Europe as a recitalist and concerto soloist through the 1920's and early 1930's. In 1931 she married the author and music critic, Artur Holde. They immigrated to the United States in 1936.

Heida Hermanns made her New York debut at Town Hall in 1942, and gave annual recitals that often included works by Busoni, Dussek, Kodaly and other composers whose works were not in the mainstream repertory. Her interest in unusual works brought her to the attention of the Society for Forgotten Music, with which she appeared several times.

As a chamber musician, she performed regularly with John Corigliano, the concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic (and the father of the composer of the same name).

In the late 1940's, Mrs. Hermanns and Mr. Holde moved to Westport, Connecticut where they helped start the Friends of Music, an organization that presented chamber music concerts, there. Mrs. Hermanns was also a founder of Performers of Connecticut, which arranged performance opportunities for young musicians and sponsored the Heida Hermanns Young Performers Competition, known today as the Heida Hermanns International Music Competition.