Singing a Song in a Foreign Land

Singing a Song in a Foreign Land is a major research and performance project focusing on musicians who emigrated from central Europe as a result of Nazi persecution during the 1930s and 40s.

This unprecedented wave of emigration of highly skilled musicians had a lasting impact on musical culture in Britain, the United States and many other countries. Many of them were Jewish, and often their family members and friends were murdered in the Holocaust. In Britain, major cultural institutions like the BBC, the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne Opera, publishers and conservatoires all employed émigré musicians. Indeed today’s international professional classical music scene owes much to their contribution, which we aim to celebrate.

Exploring the music of émigré composers is a vital aspect of this project. Their music embraces multiple languages, cultural influences and styles and is often truly international in nature. Much remains to be done to make this music better-known and accessible to performers and audiences.

The project is curated by RCM professor Norbert Meyn.
Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BS. Tel: +44(0)207 591 4300

This online resource enables you to

The first stage of Singing a Song in a Foreign Land (2012-2014) formed part of project ESTHER, 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 (1,044 kb) here.

Symposium Programme (1,044 kb)

You can get in touch with project curator Norbert Meyn at

A special thank you goes to the RCM doctoral and masters students who have supported the filming and editing of oral testimonies and the preparation of this online resource.

This project has been genrously supported by the Culture Programme of the European Union (2012-2014), the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Rothschild Foundation.