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Featured musicians

Geraldine Frank 2015 © Norbert Meyn
Our online resource ‘Singing a Song in a Foreign Land’ features approximately 40 professional musicians who emigrated from Germany and Austria to Britain in the 1930s.

Please click on the drop-down sections below to explore some short biographical profiles of our featured émigré musicians. Each profile includes links to oral history interviews, stories and featured works within this resource as well as links to external sites with further information.

The musicologist Jutta Raab Hansen estimates that there were approximately 400 professional musicians among the 50,000 mostly Jewish refugees who came to Britain from Germany and Austria between 1933 and 1939, so only a fraction are represented here. Most of these musicians were interned as ‘enemy aliens’ on the Isle of Man in 1940, and many had to manage for years without the right to work until they were eventually granted citizenship. However, not all of the musicians featured here were refugees. Some, such as the conductor Walter Goehr, the pianist Ferdinand Rauter and the conductor Fritz Busch, simply came to live and work in Britain and kept up their mobile international careers.

All of these musicians made important contributions to musical life in Britain as performers, composers, conductors, teachers, editors and publishers, many of them taking several of these roles.

Disclaimer: All images used on this site in connection with the 'Singing a Song in a Foreign Land' project are used in good faith. We have made every effort to ascertain copyright permissions for historical images and this information has been included where known. Please contact Norbert Meyn: norbert.meyn@rcm.ac.uk if you believe an image has been used incorrectly.