Richard Wolfson (musician)

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Richard Wolfson (25 April 1955 – 1 February 2005) was a British musician, performance artist, cameraman and journalist. He is probably best remembered for the concept album Kaddish which he created with Andy Saunders using the band name Towering Inferno.


Wolfson was born to an orthodox Jewish family in Solihull and educated at Solihull School. In his early years he learnt piano and guitar, and, at the age of 17, formed the first of a succession of bands with Saunders. Towering Inferno was conceived as a large scale multimedia stage project, involving film and electronics. Wolfson and Saunders met with and were impressed by the Hungarian poet Endre Szkárosi[1] and his cryptic poetry was a stimulus for their major work, the stage show and album Kaddish, which was created over five years and is an extended reflection on the Jewish prayer of the same name, including references to the history and folk-lore of Central and Eastern Europe and to the Shoah. The music includes adaptations of Hungarian folk-songs, some of them sung by Márta Sebestyén and Szkárosi, Jewish chant and the sound of the shofar, and dramatic electronic sound-effects. Other musical guests included John Marshall, Chris Cutler, Tim Hodgkinson and Elton Dean.

Kaddish was originally released in 1993 and described by its creators as 'a dream history of Europe in the wake of the Holocaust'. Brian Eno called it 'the most frightening record I have ever heard'. It received outstanding reviews from both the popular music and mainstream press, and performances were given all over the world.

Wolfson also became a successful journalist, writing on music and film for the Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times. He died of an aortic aneurysm. Saunders with Cutler, Jah Wobble, Bob Drake, Dave Kerman, Glyn Perrin, Greg Skerman, and others are completing a second Towering Inferno album, started before Wolfson's death.[2]




  1. ^ "Endre Szkбrosi". Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  2. ^ Times obituary