Ferdinand Rauter (Andrea Rauter)
Pianist and teacher
4 June 1902, Klagenfurt (capital of the southern Austrian province of Carinthia) - 1987, London
In 1913 the family moved to Aussig, on the Elbe, where his father became
director of a school for the blind.
Ferdinand Rauter studied music and chemistry in Dresden from 1920.
His musical interests ranged from a deep appreciation of the music of Bach, of which he was a distinguished performer on both piano and organ, to the study and collection of folksongs.
Rauter emigrated to Britain in 1929 and formed a partnership with the Icelandic singer Engel Lund, who had a unique talent for performing folk songs from all over the world in their original languages.
(See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuMNhNStlSM )
Rauter wrote the accompaniments for these, and they performed them together in hundreds of concerts in Britain and on several tours of Europe and the United States before and after the war.
Some of their finest performances were given in the National Gallery’s lunchtime concert series during the Second World War.
He made several recordings of songs with Engel Lund for BBC and for EMI. (Lieder Theatre London sung by 14 young singers in their native tongue)
Early in the War, Rauter was interned as an enemy alien on the Isle of Man in 1940. While in internment camp, he met Norbert Brainin and Peter Schidlof and encouraged them to form what was to become the Amadeus Quartet.
They co-founded the Refugee Musicians Committee in 1941, and later the Austrian Musicians Group and the Anglo-Austrian Music Society, of which he was a leading member until his death in 1987.
He also gave frequent concerts at the National Gallery during the war
After the war, he was active with Karl Koenig, in Scotland, between 1945-46, in developing music therapy for disabled children, inspired by the work of Rudolf Steiner.
‘Rau’, as he was affectionately known to his friends, continued to perform until shortly before his final illness, but it is, perhaps, as a great teacher that he will be most remembered.
His gentle enthusiasm for music stimulated interest in many who had always thought themselves totally unmusical.
In addition to his musical output, Rauter was also a world expert on mushrooms (he was a long-standing member of the Mycological Society). He also was an expert cook and photographer
Rau’s daughter Andrea has been Music Project Manager at the Austrian Cultural Forum London since 1996 where amongst other things she curates the New Artist Series and the ACF’s platform for contemporary music ‘Soundings’.
Before this she taught children in mainstream school and those with special needs.
The Anglo-Austrian Music Society,
(Registered Charity No. 219021) was founded in London in the autumn of
1942 by a small group of Austrian refugee musicians and a few English
friends - initially as a means of surviving in exile, but also to
promote the appreciation and understanding of Austrian music in Britain.
They gave concerts throughout the war, and increasingly involved British
musicians and British music. In 1946 the administration was merged with
that of the Anglo-Austrian Society, and visits to Britain by Austrian
artists began. The Vienna State Opera came to Covent Garden in 1947, and
the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra first played in London for the Society
in 1948. The Vienna Boys Choir visited almost every year from 1950 to
2000, and the Society commissioned Benjamin Britten to write the opera
The Golden Vanity for the Choir.
Over the years, the Anglo-Austrian Music Society has sponsored appearances by many famous artists including Elisabeth Schumann, Kathleen Ferrier, Richard Tauber, Bruno Walter, Clemens Kraus, Myra Hess, Josef Krips, Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears.
There have been many concerts and debut recitals by young Austrian musicians - starting in 1949 with the young Friedrich Gulda and continuing through the years with Paul Badura-Skoda, Joerg Demus, Ingrid Haebler, Irmgard Seefried, Wolfgang Schneiderhan, Heinz Medjimorec, Heinrich Schiff, the Alban Berg Quartet, The Haydn Trio, Edita Gruberova, Ernst Kovacic, Thomas Riebl and Stefan Vladar amongst many others.
For a history of the first half-century of the Society, written in 1992 by its longtime General Secretary Walter J Foster OBE Click here