Royal College of Music Research Project Receives £50,000 AHRC Award

Friday 11 December 2015


The Royal College of Music has won an Arts and Humanities Research Council 10th Anniversary Cultural Engagement Fund Award of £50,000 that will support a three month research project led by vocal professor Norbert Meyn, entitled 'Exile Estates – Music Restitution: The Musical Legacy of Conductor/Composer Peter Gellhorn'.

The award will, among other things, enable the employment of an Early Career Researcher to work with Norbert Meyn and undertake archival research at the Jewish Music Institute and the International Centre for Suppressed Music. They will catalogue the composer’s works, prepare musical editions and other publications, and organise a major presentation at the Royal College, to include performances of his music.

Peter Gellhorn (1912-2004) came from a musical Jewish family and was educated at Berlin University and at the Berlin Music Academy, where he was a pupil of the composer Franz Schreker. When the Nazis came to power he was obliged to leave Germany and settled in England. During his later career he conducted at Glyndebourne, at the Royal Opera House, with the Carl Rosa Opera Company and for the BBC, where he was conductor of the BBC Singers for eleven years.

This project aims to bring Peter Gellhorn’s work ­– and especially his compositions, which remain largely unpublished – to a wider audience. It is part of RCM’s wider research recording the lives and work of the many musicians forced into exile by National Socialism who not only found a home in the UK but who went on to play pivotal roles in shaping Britain’s post-war musical culture. A series of video interviews with some of these musicians, as well as others who were influenced by them, can be found on the project pages of ‘Singing a Song in a Foreign Land’.

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