This year we have been learning about the value of giving back to our community through our art. We are all aware of the World Aid concerts that raised both awareness and money for the famine in Ethiopia, but there are a number of composers who were doing benefit concerts well before Bob Geldof got a bunch of pop stars to donate their time and musicianship.
Handel is probably the most known philanthropist in the classical music world. He raised money for the London Foundling Hospital from 1749 until his death by performing The Messiah. Overall he raised over $1, 000,000.00 for the hospital for orphans.
We often think of Beethoven as a grumpy man, but he raised money with the premier of his Symphony No 7 for Austro-Bavarian soldiers and traveled to Baden Germany after a fire gutted the town to raise money for the rebuild.
Little known English composer Abraham Fisher composed the oratorio Providence to raise money for the Middlesex Hospital which premiered on July 3 1777 in Oxford. This hospital became one of the leaders in treating V.D.
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach raised money for a medical poorhouse in Hamburg by performing parts of the Mass in B Minor written by his father and parts of the Messiah.
In 1824 a 12 year old Liszt played a benefit concert supporting widows and orphans of deceased musicians in England. Both Berlioz and Dvorak also performed at later events put on by the same organization.
Last in our classical music philanthropy list is Edward Elgar who wrote two pieces as fundraisers. The first was in support of residents of Belgium after the occupation of Germany in 1914 and then composed the piece Poloina for Polish refugees performed in the summer of 1915 in London’s Queen’s Hall.
So when you come out to support our students at the September 29 event know that they are following in a strong tradition of using music to raise both awareness and money for good causes.
Listen to our Spotify playlist for the music composers of the past used to raise some much needed funds for important charities.