John Drummond and Lydia Sokolova
The RPS Drummond Fund is named in memory of Sir John Drummond and the celebrated dancer Lydia Sokolova.
Sir John Drummond CBE (1934 – 2006), writer, broadcaster and impresario, was a passionate and uncompromising champion of the arts. He first made his mark as a director of television arts programmes. The 18 years he spent at the BBC heralded an unprecedented burgeoning of the arts on BBC Television. Some of his most memorable programmes focused on cellist Paul Tortelier, the Leeds International Piano Competition, and Sergei Diaghilev.
Appointed as Director of the Edinburgh International Festival in 1978, he did much to connect art forms. In the 1979 Festival, Diaghilev’s influence was apparent in opera, ballet, concerts, lectures and an exhibition, while his final festival in 1982 brought together performances of music by Schoenberg, Berg, Webern and Zemlinsky with manifestations of Kokoschka, Mackintosh, Rilke, Hofmannsthal and Werfel.
He consequently became Controller of BBC Radio 3 and the BBC Proms, overseeing its centenary celebrations. In 1998, he gave the RPS Annual Lecture under the title ‘Taking Music Seriously’. He was appointed CBE in 1990 and knighted in 1995.
John said ‘There is more talent in music in this country by a long way than when I was young. There are also more outlets. But there is a real lack of belief, of aspiration and of vision… many people have some hard thinking to do, as to whether giving pleasure is the only function of art, or instant gratification the only responsibility we have to ourselves; or whether a truly civilised society can ever be obtained without aspiration and hard work. For in the end, taking music seriously means taking life seriously.’
Lydia Sokolova (1896–1974) was a British ballerina. She trained at the Stedman Ballet Academy and learned from such luminaries as Anna Pavlova and Enrico Cecchetti.
Born as Hilda Tansley Munnings, she studied with the likes of Anna Pavlova and launched her career London’s Savoy Theatre before touring the United States with the Imperial Russian Ballet. In 1913, she was the first British ballerina to join Sergei Diaghilev’s famed Ballet Russes. In her years as the company’s principal character dancer, her most noted role was as the Chosen One in Léonide Massine’s 1920 staging of The Rite of Spring. She later returned to England mostly to teach, work and choreograph a number of theatre shows, though she returned to the stage to perform a cameo role with the Royal Ballet in 1962. She also published the memoir Dancing for Diaghilev.
Ralph Kirshbaum, International Cello Soloist: For 40 years London has been a base for my concert and teaching activities, I endorse and support with gratitude the indispensable work of the RPS.
DID YOU KNOW?
1830: Midsummer Night’s Dream is ‘very beautiful, and encored, but it is awfully, fearfully difficult, so much so that last Saturday morning Mendelssohn was SEVEN hours rehearsing.’