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The concert was performed by the Liverpool Sinfonia, conducted by Graham Jordan Ellis
A special reception and music concert which celebrated the history of the famous Liverpool family music business, Rushworths, was held in the Concert Room of St George’s Hall.
The history of Rushworths is being researched by the University of Liverpool’s School of Music. The project is also exploring the contribution Rushworths made to the cultural and artistic life of Liverpool.
The concert, hosted by the Vice-Chancellor and the Rushworth family, celebrated the history of Rushworths, Liverpool’s longest-established and largest music business. Among the 300 invited guests attending the reception and concert were members of the Rushworth family, those at the University involved in the PhD project, alumni and supporters of the University, as well as family friends and many in the city involved in aspects of the research.
The concert was performed by the Liverpool Sinfonia, conducted by Graham Jordan Ellis and featured soloist Victoria Sayles, Associate Leader of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
Jonathan Rushworth: “It was a wonderful evening of music in a beautiful location”
The programme of music replicated pieces performed during the original 1912/13 Rushworth & Dreaper promoted concert season. It comprised Mendelssohn’s Incidental Music to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Schubert’s Symphony No 8 (Unfinished) and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major.
Jonathan Rushworth, who is supporting the research and is a graduate of the University, said: “It was a wonderful evening of music in a beautiful location. The programme replicated pieces from concerts promoted by Rushworths and performed in Liverpool one hundred years ago and this concert was performed by a local Liverpool Orchestra. In the past, Rushworths encouraged the appreciation and performance of music and funded and managed concerts, music festivals, competitions and associations. This concert is testimony to that tradition.”
Nicholas Wong, who is leading the research project, said: “Rushworths was a unique family-run business which, over its long history, touched and influenced many people. The concert was a great occasion and helped gather many more people who were eager to contribute sources, materials and recollections. I still want to hear from members of the public who want to share their memories, materials or experiences of Rushworths music shops and business.”
Rushworths was founded in the early nineteenth century by William Rushworth as an organ building and piano manufacturing business before expanding to sell all types of musical instruments. It became one of the largest organ builders in the UK and made organs for many cathedrals, churches and halls in Liverpool and throughout the UK and also overseas, including the Philharmonic Hall, Guildford Cathedral and a number of schools and Oxford and Cambridge colleges.
In 1960 the retail business moved from Islington to Whitechapel and became the ‘largest music house in Europe’ comprising five sales floors of musical instruments, televisions, record players and household appliances as well as sheet music and records. Branches of Rushworths could also be found further afield across the North West and North Wales including Birkenhead, Chester, Llandudno, Manchester and the Isle of Man.
David, Jonathan and Richard Rushworth with University of Liverpool Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Howard Newby (second from right)
Rushworths has a strong association with Liverpool’s long and rich music tradition for over a century and a half, and was part of the Merseybeat scene of the early 1960s and the Beatles. Paul McCartney’s first guitar was said to have been bought from Rushworths and in 1962 James Rushworth presented John Lennon and George Harrison with their Gibson J-160E guitars specially imported from Chicago.
Anybody who wishes to get involved in the project should email firstname.lastname@example.org
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