Emmy Rubensohn! Networker and Music Patron – from Leipzig to New York
Emmy Rubensohn (1884-1961) was a networker, music patron, concert manager and author of letters. Born in Leipzig in 1884 as the daughter of the Jewish entrepreneurial family Frank, she attended Gewandhaus concerts at an early age and collected autographs from prominent artists of her time.
After marrying Ernst Rubensohn in 1907, she moved to Kassel, where the couple turned their house into a cultural meeting place, where composers and performers such as Wilhelm Furtwängler, Walter Braunfels or Ernst Krenek, or visual artists such as the painter Oskar Kokoschka or the sculptor Benno Elkan guested. Thanks to a “residency grant”, Krenek was able to complete his opera “Jonny spielt auf” here, which premiered in Leipzig in 1927 and became the greatest opera success of the 1920s.
From 1933 Emmy and her husband Ernst were exposed to increasing threats from the Nazi regime. Emmy organized concerts for the Jewish Cultural Association to enable Jewish musicians to earn an income, for example with the conductor Joseph Rosenstock or the pianist Grete Sultan.
In 1940 the couple fled to Shanghai via Berlin. There, too, Emmy surrounded herself with music and culture and organized concerts. In 1947 the couple managed to emigrate to New York.
At all stages of life, Emmy Rubensohn maintained a global network of artistic friends, which can be reconstructed from the guest book that has been preserved.
In New York, this circle of friends included the violinist Roman Totenberg, the conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos and Alma Mahler-Werfel.
Patron of the exhibition is Ken Toko, US Consul General of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.
The exhibition was organized by the GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde, the GRASSI Museum für Musikinstrumente, and the Fritz Ascher Society for Persecuted, Ostracized and Banned Art in New York.
It was curated by Matthias Henke, Stefan Hindtsche, Léontine Meijer-van Mensch and Rachel Stern.
Generously supported by the US Consulate General of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia and by Reinwald GmbH Böhlen.
The exhibition is on view June 25 – January 14, 2024 at Museen im GRASSI, Johannisplatz 5-11, 04103, Leipzig, Second Floor, Foyer and Special Exhibition Space of the Musikinstrumentenmuseum der Universität Leipzig, T +49 351 49 14 2000.
OPENING HOURS: Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.
A free ticket to visit the exhibition can be obtained from the GRASSI ticket office on the first floor.