This Day in UMS History: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Feb 19, 1985)
By Paula MuldoonTweet
Editor’s Note: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performs in Ann Arbor on January 11, 2016.
February 19, 1985
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor
“While Yehudi Menuhin’s name is synonymous with the violin, he is also regarded as one of today’s finer conductors.” So begins the biographical note for the concert of this orchestra, which in 1986 counted André Previn as its Music Director and the Queen Mum as its patron. Menuhin’s name is indeed synonymous with the violin, but even for a violinist he had an unusual life. He was raised in California, studied in Europe with Georges Enesco, and as a teenager was an internationally famous violinist. During World War II, he flew, sometimes in dangerous conditions, to military hospitals to perform for wounded soldiers – acts for which France later honored him with the Legion of Honor (making him its youngest recipient). He was a close friend and collaborator with famous Indian sitarist Ravi Shankar (who, still going strong at 90 years old, recently appeared at Hill with his daughter Anoushka) and released joint recordings with legendary jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli. He founded the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey, England, received fourteen honorary doctorates, and was made a life peer by Queen Elizabeth II. He died in 1999.
“This day in UMS History” is an occasional series of vignettes drawn from UMS’s historical archive. If you have a personal story or particular memory from attending the performance featured here, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.