Commemorative Plaque Honours Founding International Festival Director Sir Rudolf Bing

Commemorative Plaque Honours Founding International Festival Director Sir Rudolf BingToday Frank Harding, Trustee of the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR), unveiled a commemorative plaque to honour Sir Rudolf Bing, the founding Edinburgh International Festival Director. The plaque honouring Bing's contribution to Edinburgh and UK's cultural landscape was unveiled at The Hub, home of the International Festival, with Lord Provost Frank Ross, the Austrian Ambassador His Excellency Dr Martin Eichtinger attending, alongside AJR members and trustees.

The tribute is part of the Association of Jewish Refugees plaque scheme, which honours prominent Jewish émigrés from Nazism whose work and legacy continue to shape and influence our society. It is hoped that these commemorative plaques will help to support a tangible link between our contemporary world and the past, as they bring history into the present and keep the memory and legacies of these important figures alive.

Sir Rudolf Bing came to Britain as a refugee of the Nazi regime in 1934 and took up a position with Glyndebourne Opera on his arrival, becoming a British subject in 1946. The following year marked the first Edinburgh International Festival which was founded by Bing alongside Henry Harvey Wood, Head of the British Council in Scotland; Sidney Newman, Reid Professor of Music at Edinburgh University; and a group of City of Edinburgh leaders, in particular Lord Provost Sir John Falconer. The Festival was based on the guiding principles of internationAl Cooperation, collaboration and unity, all principles which are equally crucial to the International Festival today.

Association of Jewish Refugees Trustee Frank Harding, said: 'Through the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) plaque scheme we are honouring prominent Jewish émigrés from Nazism who made a significant contribution to their adopted homeland. Last year we unveiled a first plaque to Sir Rudolf Bing at Glyndebourne Opera and arranged for nearly 100 AJR members to be present and attend a performance of Le Nozze Di Figaro. We believe that these commemorative plaques help form a tangible link between illustrious earlier residents and the local community as well as fascinating residents and visitors. As well as being instructive and informative, they bring the past into the present, and they perpetuate the memory of the person being honoured'.

Festival Director Fergus Linehan said: 'As the 70th anniversary International Festival draws to a close, it seems particularly fitting that our founding Director Rudolf Bing is honoured with the unveiling of a plaque in his name at the home of the Festival. Seventy years after the first Festival, the spirit of reconciliation and generosity which he brought to this city remains undiminished and at the heart of what we do. I'd like to thank The Association of Jewish Refugees for recognising the great contribution of Rudolf Bing to this city and honouring him here today'.

One further plaque erected by the Edinburgh Jewish Dialogue was also unveiled at the Usher Hall today ahead of the International Festival's 70th Anniversary Celebration Concert. This plaque commemorates Sir Rudolf Bing as the founding Director of the Festival and Maestro Bruno Walter, who performed at the first Festival in 1947 with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, having been forced to leave Germany in the 1930s. The Edinburgh Jewish Dialogue is an organisation dedicated to creating a sustainable and positive future for Jewish people in Edinburgh.

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