Project ESTHER (2012-2014)
In 2012 the RCM launched the ‘Singing a Song in a Foreign Land’ project as a part of project ESTHER (2012-2014), a collaborative project with four other European institutions: Jeunesse Musicale Schwerin (Germany), Exil Arte Vienna (Austria), Pro Quartet Paris (France) and DUNK Helsinki (Finland), supported by the Culture Programme of the European Union. In February 2014, the project came to a climax with an exhibition, concert series and three-day symposium at the RCM. You can download the Symposium Programme below.
Singing a Song in a Foreign Land - Oral History Project (2014-15)
The symposium in 2014 brought us in contact with a great number of family members and friends of émigré musicians, and with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Rothschild Foundation we were able to record professionally filmed oral history interviews with many of them. All interviews can be found in this resource.
Arts in Harmony - Treasures of the Ben Uri Gallery’s Musical Heritage (2015)
Including artworks, photographs, cuttings, correspondence and programmes, this exhibition at the RCM Museum in 2015 highlighted Ben Uri's musical heritage whilst revealing powerful stories of émigrés and emerging second generation musicians, such as polyglot Lieder singer Engel Lund, who stood up to anti-Semitism in Germany in the 1930s, by refusing to stop performing in Yiddish.
Ben Uri not only organised regular recitals but had its own orchestra, chamber orchestra, choir and opera appreciation circle, which even today is unique within the context of an art gallery. Ben Uri brought art and music together: For example, Alexander Goehr, who came to England as a small child, premiered a new composition in 1953, only a year after his photographer mother Laelia Goehr had exhibited her works at the Ben Uri Gallery.
Other émigré musicians featured in the display included Thomas Rajna, Franz Reizenstein, Emanuel Hurwitz and Paul Hamburger.
Exile Estates and Music Restitution - The Musical Legacy of Peter Gellhorn (2016)
This 2016 project, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, was a collaboration with the Jewish Music Institute, the International Centre for Suppressed Music and the British Library. Research Associate for the project was Dr. Terence Curran. You can read an in-depth story about Peter Gellhorn here or visit the project’s original website.
The Barbed Lyre - Music in Internment on the Isle of Man (2017)
In 2017, musicians from the RCM teamed up with the Culture Vannin, the Isle of Man Arts Council, the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London and the newly- founded Ensemble Émigré to develop and tour a concert of music written in internment on the Isle of Man in 1940. The project was also supported by the German Embassy in London. You can read an in-depth story about music internment here.
Robert Kahn - The Sprudeling FOUNTAIN (2018-19)
In 2018 and 2019, musicians from the RCM and Ensemble Émigré presented a programme of music by émigré composer Robert Kahn at the German Embassy in London and the Akademie der Künste Berlin. Much of the programme was subsequently recorded for the CD ‘Leaves from the Tree of Life’ on Rubicon Classics. You can read an in-depth story about Robert Kahn here.