Family re-unite to sing in memorial concert

15 September 2019 Sheffield Telegraph

Five members of one family will come together to sing the Brahms Requiem with Sheffield Bach Choir in Sheffield Cathedral on Saturday 5 October. Jane Ginsborg, Professor of Music Psychology at the Royal Northern College of Music, is thrilled to sponsor the concert in memory of her parents Alexandrina (Andy) and Bernard Ginsborg, who died in 2013 and 2018.

‘At their own request, no funeral or memorial service was held for them,’ explained Jane. ‘They were great music lovers, however – what better way to celebrate their lives than with a concert?’

Jane’s sister Hannah, a philosopher, will sing in the choir, flying in from Oakland, California (via Berlin), where she recently performed the Requiem with her local choir. Jane’s husband George Nicholson, Professor of Composition at the University of Sheffield, will be there to support, not only as much-beloved son-in-law but also as President of Sheffield Bach Society.

Jane and George’s son Leo, a concert pianist,  will travel from London where he accompanies the Forest Choir in Walthamstow. He and their daughter Ruth, who plays and teaches violin and piano, and is the choir’s own accompanist, plan to join Jane and Hannah to sing with the choir.

‘My mother claimed she couldn’t sing, but my father had a wonderful singing voice, which he used at home in the traditional songs of Jewish festivals,’ said Jane. ‘So it’s great that my sister and I, and Leo and Ruth, can come together to sing with the Bach Choir in their memory’.

Andy and Bernard were the grand-daughter and son of immigrants from Eastern Europe. They met at Reading University where she studied economics and psychology, and he studied physics. They were keen concert-goers in Edinburgh, where they lived for many years.

‘We would often go with our parents to concerts at the Usher Hall, following scores while we listened to the music,’ said Jane. ‘There were trips to Glasgow to see Scottish Opera, and we went to the Edinburgh Festival every year, a tradition George and I have kept up ever since. It’s hardly surprising that Hannah and I became musicians!’

The choir will be conducted by Dr Simon Lindley, with the National Festival Orchestra and two superb soloists – rising Sheffield star soprano Ella Taylor, winner of the Lesley Garrett Opera prize and former BBC Chorister of the Year, and internationally acclaimed bass Alex Ashworth.

‘Music, the opportunity to hear it and to make it ourselves, was one of the most precious gifts our parents gave us,’ said Jane. ‘We are so grateful to have been able to pass it on to our children too.’

Read the original article as it appeared in the Sheffield Telegraph

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