Today Frank Harding, Trustee of the Association of Jewish Refugees, 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 and the Austrian Ambassador, His Excellency Dr Martin Eichtinger, in attendance.
The tribute is part of the Association of Jewish Refugees plaque scheme, which honours prominent Jewish émigrés from Nazism who made a significant contribution to their adopted homeland. It is hoped that these commemorative plaques will help to support a tangible link between the local community and its illustrious residents of 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.
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.