Mendelssohn Scholarship

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The Mendelssohn Scholarship (German: Mendelssohn-Stipendium) refers to two scholarships awarded in Germany and in the United Kingdom. Both commemorate the composer Felix Mendelssohn, and are awarded to promising young musicians to enable them to continue their development.


Shortly after Mendelssohn's death in 1847, a group of his friends and admirers formed a committee in London to establish a scholarship to enable musicians to study at the Leipzig Conservatoire, which Mendelssohn had founded in 1843. Their fundraising included a performance of Mendelssohn's Elijah in 1848, featuring Jenny Lind. The link between London and Leipzig fell through, resulting in two Mendelssohn Scholarships.[1][2]

Mendelssohn Scholarship in Germany[edit]

In Germany, the Mendelssohn Scholarship was established in the 1870s as a scholarship for foreign students to attend the Leipzig Conservatoire, and was funded by the Prussian state as part of an arrangement under which the Mendelssohn family donated the composer's manuscripts to the state.[3] The first recipient was the composer, Engelbert Humperdinck, who used it to travel to Italy in 1879.

The scholarship in honour of a Jewish composer was discontinued by the Nazis in 1934. It was revived by the Ministry of Culture of the former East Germany in 1963, in the form of two annual prizes for composition and for performance. It is now awarded by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.


Winners of the German Mendelssohn Scholarship
Engelbert humperdinck 1854.jpg
Alfred Sittard.jpg

As well as Humperdinck, recipients include the pianist Wilhelm Kempff and the composer Kurt Weill.

The following is an incomplete chronological list of recipients of the German Mendelssohn Scholarship.

1879 to 1935[edit]

Since 1963[edit]

  • 1969 - Peter Herrmann
  • 1966 - Walter Steffens
  • 1974/75 - Gabriele Kupfernagel
  • 1976/77 - Reinhard Wolschina
  • 1978/80 - Walter Thomas Heyn
  • 1981 - Bernd Franke
  • 1985 - Rolf Fischer
  • 1987 - Olaf Henzold
  • 1988 - Steffen Schleiermacher
  • 1988/89 - Caspar René Hirschfeld
  • Carola Nasdala
  • Michael Schönheit
  • Michael Stöckigt
  • Matthias Henneberg

Mendelssohn Scholarship in the United Kingdom[edit]

Winners of the UK Mendelssohn Scholarship

The funds raised at the 1848 concert were invested and allowed to accumulate until 1856, when Arthur Sullivan was elected as the first scholar. Since then it has been awarded from time to time, administered by the Mendelssohn Scholarship Foundation, which is linked to the Royal Academy of Music. The foundation was created by a trust deed in 1871. Its trustees include the composers Anthony Payne and Justin Connolly, and the principal of the Royal Academy of Music, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood; and its charitable objects are "For the education of musical students of both sexes in pursuance of the intentions of the founders".[15]


Recipients include the composers Frederick Corder, George Dyson,[16] Malcolm Arnold and Kenneth Leighton.[17]

The following is an incomplete chronological list of recipients of the British Mendelssohn Scholarship.


  1. ^ a b A Dictionary of Music and Musicians Sir George Grove, Vol. 2, London, 1900
  2. ^ a b "German Mendelssohn Scholarship" (PDF)., New York Times, 7 November 1895
  3. ^ "Press release on the 2006 prize from the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 July 2011. (in German)
  4. ^ a b c "Stipendien (1879-1934)". Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Hochschulwettbewerb (in German). Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Schenk, Dietmar (2004). Die Hochschule für Musik zu Berlin: Preussens Konservatorium zwischen romantischem Klassizismus und neuer Musik, 1869-1932/33. Pallas Athene. Beitrage zur Universitats- und Wissenschaftsgeschichte (in German). Franz Steiner Verlag. p. 318. ISBN 978-3-515-08328-7. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
  6. ^ "Stipendien (1879-1934)". Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Hochschulwettbewerb (in German). Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  7. ^ Compositeur Iacob Muresianu (fils) 1857-1917 at Heritage Culturel-Musical - Iacob Muresianu (in French)
  8. ^ Essay in Toccata Classics CD release available online as pdf
  9. ^ Karl Klingler, entry at Deutsche Biographie (in German)
  10. ^ The Mendelssohn Prize, letter published in New York Times, 6 November 1910
  11. ^ "Poe Club to Hear Downtown Music School Instructor". The De Paulia. De Paul University, Chicago, Illinois. 17: 1. 9 December 1938.
  12. ^ Ledbetter, Steven. "Ervín Schulhoff: Concerto for String Quartet with Wind Orchestra" (PDF). Boston Symphony Orchestra. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  13. ^ Ignace Strasfogel, 84, Pianist and Conductor, obituary in New York Times, 10 February 1994
  14. ^ Grete von Zieritz at
  15. ^ Mendelssohn Scholarship Foundation, at the Charity Commission's website
  16. ^ 'On the Other Hand', Musical Opinion, April 1932, p.590 excerpt from article by Havergal Brian, retrieved from on 5 September 2010
  17. ^ Biography of Frederick Leighton on Edinburgh University website
  18. ^ A Dictionary of Music and Musicians Sir George Grove, Vol. 4, London, 1900
  19. ^ Banfield, Stephen (2007). "Towards a History of Music in the British Empire: Three Export Studies". In Darian-Smith, Kate; Grimshaw, Patricia; Macintyre, Stuart (eds.). Britishness abroad: transnational movements and imperial culture. Academic Monographs. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-522-85392-6.
  20. ^ a b Europa Publications, ed. (2003). International Who's Who in Classical Music 2003. International Who's Who in Classical Music. 19. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-85743-174-2.
  21. ^ ggbooks, Evan Senior, Music and Musicians, Volume 28
  22. ^ James Harley biography, on website of Minnesota State University Moorhead
  23. ^ Javier Alvarez's website:
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h UK Mendelssohn Scholarship Foundation website, accessed 26 April 2015

External links[edit]

Official website of the UK Mendelssohn Scholarship Foundation