The Royal Academy of Music has acquired the Yehudi Menuhin Archive, one of the most valuable and comprehensive collections ever assembled by an individual musician
The Royal Academy of Music has acquired for the nation the Yehudi Menuhin Archive, one of the most valuable and comprehensive collections ever assembled by an individual musician. The acquisition has been made possible by a very generous and major grant of £1.2m from the Foyle Foundation. Donations have also been received from several individuals. An additional grant from the Foyle Foundation will also enable the Academy to conserve the archive and make it accessible to the widest possible audience.
The archive will be catalogued in detail, and parts of it will be digitised and made fully available to the public. Items from the archive will be displayed regularly in the Academy's free 'living museum' and research centre, the York Gate Collections, which already houses collections of famous musicians including Sir Arthur Sullivan, Sir Henry Wood and Sir John Barbirolli - but the Menuhin Archive is unrivalled in its international significance.
The first exhibition of the archive will open 25th March 2004, coinciding with the launch of 'Genius of the Violin' - a major festival presented by Academy in partnership with the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists (Professor Curtis Price, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, said: "Yehudi Menuhin was not only a great musician - probably the most instantly recognisable of all 20thcentury performers - but a great humanitarian, educator and culture guru. He was also an assiduous collector not only of material documenting his own long career, but of everything to do with the violin, violinists and the composers he knew. Yehudi had a particular affection for the Academy, and his last public masterclasses were given here. I am particularly pleased that his archive will now be made available to the public at the Academy, and will not be sold at auction and dispersed world-wide."
The archive contains:
• important autograph musical manuscripts including many by the composers who worked with Menuhin and printed music and scores (often copiously marked up for performance), including music from his collaborations with Ravi Shankar and Stéphane Grappelli
• letters from non-musical figures including Albert Einstein and Jawaharlal Nehru
as well as from a rolecall of twentieth-century musicians, including detailed
correspondence with Edward Elgar, Béla Bartók and Benjamin Britten
• virtually every piece of newsprint that mentioned Menuhin during his lifetime
• numerous original portraits of Nicolò Paganini
• an extensive photographic record of Menuhin's life including images signed by
Pablo Casals, Charlie Chaplin, Georges Enesco, Serge Kousewitsky, Jean Sibelius, Arturo Toscanini, Bruno Walter, Zoltán Kodaly and many others