Today would have been the 99th birthday of our inspirational founder Yehudi Menuhin.
He was born in New York on this day in 1916, and made his first public appearance aged 7, as a solo violinist with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. He went on to tour the world, and almost every successful musician since this time has credited Menuhin as being influential and inspiring to them.
Whilst Yehudi Menuhin’s name is synonymous with the highest standards of excellence in musicianship and violin-playing in particular, what is less celebrated is his commitment to using music to help the most vulnerable in society. Together with Benjamin Britten, he performed for traumatised soldiers following World War II, and for the survivors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Two years later, he was the first Jewish musician to return to Germany and perform with the Berlin Philharmonic as an act of international reconciliation.
Together with his friend Ian Stoutzker, Menuhin founded Live Music Now in 1977, in order to create an organisation that could train and support musicians to follow in his footsteps, performing for those in society for whom music could make a real difference.
"Music, amongst all the great arts, is the language which penetrates most deeply into the human spirit, reaching people through every barrier, disability, language and circumstance. This is why it has been my dream to bring music back into the lives of those people whose lives are especially prone to stress and suffering… so that it might comfort, heal and bring delight.” – Yehudi Menuhin
Today, we are celebrating his 99th birthday, and the millions of lives that have been touched and transformed by his inspiration. The very idea of musical “outreach”, now taken for granted in arts organisations throughout the world, could be said to have started with Yehudi Menuhin.
One year from now, we will be celebrating the Centenary of Menuhin’s birth along with leading musicians and arts organisations around the world. To get involved, contact [email protected]
Sir Yehudi Menuhin with LMN Founder-Chairman Ian Stoutzer, CBE and Director Sheila Gold
on the occassion of LMN's 7th Birthday