Lord Moser, who has died aged 92, was an educationalist, statistician, economist and a ubiquitous and influential presence in Britain’s cultural life in the second half of the 20th century. The list of his achievements was formidable. After 20 years at the London School of Economics where he became Professor of Social Statistics, he went on to head the government’s statistical service from 1967 to 1978. At the same time he became chairman of the Royal Opera House (1974-87) and, for 12 years, vice-chairman of the bankers N M Rothschild (1978-90). In 1984 he became Warden of Wadham College, Oxford, then pro-vice-chancellor of Oxford University. Later he was Chancellor of Keele University and chairman of the government’s Basic Skills Agency. Altogether he sat on between 30 and 40 boards, commissions, committees, trusts and governing bodies and held numerous honorary degrees. A balding but elegant man, with intense brown eyes and serious, sensitive features which broke easily into a wide smile, Claus Moser was splendidly, unapologetically highbrow. He was a friend of the civilised and civilising arts and sciences and enemy of all that was dumbed-down and philistine in British society. There was no comparison, in his view, between Mozart and Kylie Minogue. Yet he was no social elitist, believing that the benefits of high culture should be the birthright of all. He liked to quote President Kennedy’s dictum that “the life of the Arts, far from being an interruption, a distraction in the life of the nation, is very close to the centre of a nation’s purpose, and is a test of a nation’s civilisation”.
Following the fundraising event that we held at Spencer House this past March, in which we were treated to a truly memorable recital by Murray Perahia, the JMC has been hard at work developing the programme that your contributions have so generously created: International Masterclasses and Musical Encounters in Memory of Claus Moser.
Masterclasses have always been a cornerstone of musicians’ development. There is no substitute for a one to one meeting of minds between young, developing< musicians, and established masters, and the JMC has been a proud and committed exponent of such meetings throughout its history. In recent years, such guests have included Murray Perahia, Emanuel Ax, Andràs Schiff, Ivry Gitlis, Miriam Fried, Tabea Zimmermann, Janos Starker, Andreas Scholl, and Thomas Adès.
The International Masterclasses and Musical Encounters in Memory of Claus Moser expand on this tradition, providing meetings between our outstanding young musicians and the world’s most accomplished artists across a wide range of formats, from oneday, oneonone meetings, all the way to residential courses in which participants and great masters live, play and work together. Through these encounters, we are privileged to be able to offer our students in Israel a level of musical instruction to be envied anywhere in the world.