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International Musicians Seminar

Foreword and Introductions


For more than a century and a half, the maritime light and rugged, ancient landscape of Cornwall have drawn successive generations of artists to the county, and especially to West Penwith. Recently, a younger generation, many of whom have generously contributed to this auction, has chosen to renew the artistic traditions of Newlyn and St Ives, but also to work in other centres, such as St Just, Falmouth, Helston and places between. Slowly, a new community is becoming established, building on the example of Stanhope Forbes and Tuke in one generation, or Nicholson, Hepworth, Heron, Lanyon and Frost in another, artists who regarded themselves both as rooted in a community and as part of national and international dialogues. That sense of belonging to place and yet being part of a larger conversation is one of the conditions for the creation of great art and the threat to such free exchange, posed by the rise of nationalist and isolationist rhetoric, is one of the principal challenges of our age.

The International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove was born of a similar aspiration to renew and extend the European tradition of classical music and music making by creating an opportunity for young performers to broaden their experience through international exchange. IMS brings together young musicians from across the world (135 students from 34 countries at the Spring 2016 Masterclasses, alone) with outstanding soloists and teachers who are committed to developing the craft of making music and not simply to perfection in performance.

This auction is therefore a powerful statement of mutual respect by one group of artistic practitioners for another, but will also help to maintain the international conversations and open borders that Sándor Végh believed were so fundamental to the development of the next generation of composers and performers.