Visit the Royal College of Music Museum this spring to see Music, Migration and Mobility - the story of émigré musicians from Nazi-Europe in Britain. The new exhibition explores the lives and legacies of émigré musicians who fled the Nazi regime and the ravages of war.
Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), this exhibition is part of a major RCM research project in collaboration with Royal Holloway, University of London and University of Salzburg.
Many of the most influential figures in post-war British musical life were émigré musicians who were forced to leave their homeland as a direct result of the rise and impact of the Nazi regime in Germany. From Jewish musicians who were removed from their posts to political opponents escaping retribution, Britain offered a creative home where they could thrive and go on to a play a role in enriching its cultural life.
Among them were:
- Composer and former RCM professor Joseph Horovitz, (best-known for his 70+ television and film scores, including that for Rumpole of the Baily);
- Cellist and surviving member of the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz Anita Lasker-Wallfisch (who was a founding member of the English Chamber Orchestra);
- Composer Mátyás Seiber, (who wrote music for many prominent artists including Denis Brain and Peter Pears and who was regarded as one of the finest teachers of composition in the country);
- Artist Milein Cosman, (whose work is on display at the RCM and the Wigmore Hall);
- Artist, musician and broadcaster Gerard Hoffnung.
- Broadcaster and writer Hans Keller.
These and many others would play a key role in the development of now-major British institutions, including Glyndebourne Festival, the Royal Opera, the BBC and the RCM itself. Their work resonates today through film, TV and art.
For more information about the research that lead to this exhibition, check out the online resource - Singing A Song In A Foreign Land - Émigré musicians from Nazi Europe.