Only the Violins Remain. Alma and Arnold Rosé

Monday, 09.03.2020 - Saturday, 30.05.2020, Museum

A touring exhibition from the House of Austrian History, in partnership with the Royal Academy of Music Museum

Free entry to the exhibition. Associated events free, but tickets required. Click here to book.

The story of a father and daughter – icons of Austrian musical life – whose careers were cut short by the Nazis. Arnold fled to London but Alma perished in Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where she had become the conductor of the Women’s Orchestra.

Arnold Rosé was the leader of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and the Rosé Quartet, and an honorary member of the Vienna Philharmonic; Alma had a promising solo career and formed her own female orchestra. In 1938 the Anschluss – the annexation of Austria into Germany – changed their lives. Over 66,000 Austrians did not survive the Shoah; Alma Rosé was one of them. She led the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz-Birkenau and saved the lives of many women prisoners, before perishing in the camp.

Today, their violins carry their legacy and can be heard in major concert halls around the world. On display in the exhibition are two violins from the Academy collection by the same makers and of similar age: the ‘Maurin’ Stradivari, 1718 and a Guadagnini, 1755.

With thanks to the Jewish Museum London for additional display items

Event dates:

Monday 27 April, 6.30pm
Chamber music concert based on programmes by the Rosé Quartet:
Brahms Piano Trio in B, Op 8, revised version - premiered by Arnold Rosé
Schoenberg solo piano pieces, Op 11 and Op 19
Schoenberg Verklärte Nacht, Op 4, sextet version - premiered by the Rosé Quartet 

Featuring Academy students Yuchong Wu, XinRu Chen, Echea Quartet, Lucas Levin, Joel Siepmann and the Bernstein Piano Trio.

Tuesday 28 April, 2.30pm
Undergraduate student Avital Green presents a lecture recital based on the life of composer Yizhak Edel who lost his only son in 1943. This talk includes a performance of a song cycle by Edel and poet Elisha Rodin inspired by the Jewish kaddish prayer for the dead and based on the seven-day shiva period of mourning.

Monday 4 May, 7pm
A performance inspired by the repertoire of the Auschwitz Women’s Orchestra, with music and readings by Academy musicians and alumna Karin Hendrickson, Assistant Conductor of the Royal Northern Sinfonia. A historical recording of the Bach Double Violin Concerto by Alma and Arnold Rosé will be followed by a live performance led by Emmanuela Huning and Mio Takahashi.

Thursday 14 May, 7pm
The museum hosts an evening with Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, Holocaust survivor and cellist in the Auschwitz Women’s Orchestra, who went on to co-found the English Chamber Orchestra. In conversation with her son, musician Raphael Wallfisch, she shares a glimpse into her experiences in the concentration camp.

Friday 15 May, 2.30pm
Using archive recordings, pianist Daniel-Ben Pienaar and violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved examine the impact of the Rosé Quartet on post-war recordings of Haydn. With help from historical examples, they ask the question: How has quartet playing today been influenced by the developments of recording technologies over the past century?

Photo credits:

Alma and Arnold Rosé with their violins (date unknown), KHM Museumsverband,Theatermuseum Wien

The Gustav Mahler-Alfred Rosé Collection, Music Library, University of Western Ontario, Canada. Supported by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.