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Roots and Wings


To understand Mus-e we need to go back in time to the dream of a violinist:
Yehudi Menuhin. The Yehudi Menuhin Foundation was founded in Brussels in 1991, answering his desire for peace and his love for children and art. Year after year, dozens of Mus-e venues flourished all over Europe. Yehudi Menuhin's dream has great ambitions and a single wish: to bring art into primary schools and kindergartens, helping children to discover beauty in others and within themselves.
In the world of classical music, few names manage to cross the threshold of notoriety and become familiar to the general public. Yehudi Menuhin made it, and its human and musical path "without frontiers" is so fascinating that it deserves reflection.
Yehudi Menuhin was born in 1916 in New York and from the very beginning of his life, he had an amazing ease in playing the violin, to the point that at only 7 years he enchanted the public of San Francisco, performing the Concerto op. 64 of Mendelssohn.
He was indeed a child prodigy, though he himself did not love this expression. He was 10 years old when he starts his first European tour and a brilliant career that led him to work with some of the best musicians in the world.
When he was around twenty years old, however, the young Menuhin realized that it was necessary for him to get back to study to improve the technical aspects of its execution, neglected because of the numerous concert commitments. Despite the undoubted mastery, however, even more than its technical perfection, a unique sound that seemed loaded with great spiritual values distinguished him. In those early years he recorded the first recordings, considered unanimously an absolute point of reference for the following generations. Between 1935 and 1936 he performed in as many as 63 cities in 13 different states, a real record for those years.
During the Second World War, he held over 500 concerts for hospitals, allied military bases and Red Cross camps. In April 1945, together with pianist Benjamin Britten, he played for the deported Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after his release. In 1947 he returned to Germany to play under the guidance of conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler: a significant act of reconciliation with the German people by a Jewish musician. For the second time, however, the great violinist stopped, realizing that he no longer had the ease of execution that had characterized the first season of his career. The causes of this physical and mental fatigue are not known, but Menuhin tried to solve them by approaching meditation and yoga, to explore new musical ways, such as jazz or oriental music. Meanwhile, in 1963 he founded the Yehudi Menuhin School to train young violinists and in 1969 he became president of UNESCO International Music Council.
In 1991 he founded the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation in Brussels, and in 1994 together with the conductor Werner Schmitt and Marianne Poncelet the Mus-e project was born. In 1995 he celebrated the release of Nelson Mandela with a concert, and in 1996 he conducted the Sarajevo Peace Concert under the patronage of the European Union and UNESCO. In the last years of his life, he increasingly intensified his activities as a promoter of the universal values ​​of peace and music. He died on 12 March 1999, after a brief illness, and to him Béla Bartòk dedicated the touching composition Sonata for solo violin. Lord Menuhin was an extraordinary musician and a great humanitarian who, from very early on, wanted to make his music work for humanity.
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