Dame Myra Hess Day

Dame Myra Hess Day

Listen, Enjoy, Remember

Date and time

Friday 22 November 2013

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These concerts are dedicated to Myra Hess who, against insurmountable odds, arranged concerts in the National Gallery every day of the week throughout the Second World War.

Dame Myra Hess

The first concert took place at the National Gallery on 10 October 1939. Myra Hess and her team had only a few weeks to make the arrangements and busied themselves booking performers, equipping the venue and organising publicity.

Director Kenneth Clark began by winning the blessing of the Gallery's trustees for the project then turned his attention to convincing the Home Office and Ministry of Works to grant the concerts dispensation from the ban on public gatherings. 'The sooner we can start the better', he wrote, 'As this is the period when people are beginning to feel the want of nourishment for mind and spirit and it would be a great thing for the National Gallery to give a lead'.

Let music surround and inspire you in the original setting.


Lunchtime concert >> full programme and book tickets

1-2.15pm, Room 36, tickets £10/£7 concessions

The National Gallery concerts began on Tuesday 10 October, 1939, with a piano recital given by Myra Hess herself 'in case the whole thing is a flop'. This concert is a recreation of her first concert.

Piers Lane (piano)

Afternoon talk >> full programme

3.30-4.30pm, Sainsbury Wing Theatre, free

Patrick Bade will give a talk based on his book 'Music Wars 1937-1945'

Patrick's talk will contextualise the National Gallery concerts within Britain and Europe; Bade writes 'if one person could be deemed to represent the musical life of London during the war, it would have been the pianist Myra Hess'.

Evening concert >> full programme and book tickets

6.30-7.45pm, Room 36, tickets £10/£7 concessions

Featuring the Endellion String Quartet and violinist David Adams playing rarely heard masterpieces from Mozart and Beethoven. This will be a wonderful opportunity to listen and enjoy some of Myra's most loved music.

This day only comes once a year - book now to be a part of history.

The Dame Myra Hess Day is generously supported by Miss Dasha Shenkman who also supports The Belle Shenkman Music Programme. Concerts by Royal College of Music students take place throughout the year at the National Gallery in memory of her late mother, Belle Shenkman, who was a great supporter of the Royal College of Music and the arts in general.