Manchester’s RNCM has collaborated with Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris (Paris Conservatoire) to create a dual-language online exhibition commemorating the end of the Great War.
Paris-Manchester 1918: Conservatoires in time of war uses research conducted both in Manchester and Paris to present an exhibition on the lives of the musicians behind the concert programmes, creating a lasting memorial in celebration of those who fought or made music during the First World War.
The exhibition is divided in to four themes (Conservatoires under Fire; Musicians at the Front, Musicians on the Home Front; Musical Life and From War to Peace). The documents of the exhibition along with images and recordings tell stories about particular musicians from both cities who served in the War. Amongst them are Maurice Ravel, who made considerable efforts to enlist; the promising violinist, Frank Tipping, who died in action at the age of 21; Roger Pénau, who served as a stretcher-bearer; and Fernand Halphen, who was determined to make music happen anywhere, even close to the front line.
Royal Northern College of Music staff and students are also represented in the exhibition which includes items relating to Adolph Brodsky, Principal of the RMCM, who was interned in Austria at the start of the war; and correspondence between Hope Squire and her husband, piano tutor Frank Merrick, who was imprisoned as a Contentious Objector at Wormwood Scrubs. Alongside this are concert programmes from the RMCM, the Hallé and from the edge of the battlefield, and from Paris, extracts from the Gazette, which the famous musical sisters Nadia and Lili Boulanger established to correspond with musicians serving at the Front.
Paris-Manchester 1928: Conservatoires in time of war is available in English and French at www.rncm.ac.uk/paris-manchester-1918 The exhibition forms the central part of the RNCM’s year-long French connections festival celebrating the music of France.