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Orchestral tribute to Hedy Morgan’s life in England after being forced to flee pre-war Germany

Sudbury Symphony Orchestra ANL-160615-101515001
Sudbury Symphony Orchestra ANL-160615-101515001

Sudbury Symphony Orchestra’s next concert on June 26 at St Peter’s, Sudbury, celebrates the life of Hedy Morgan who died in September 2015 at the age of 100.

Hedy was the mother of the orchestra’s past Principal Flautist, Nigel Morgan and she was a very accomplished pianist whose career as a professional in pre-war Germany was cut short due to Nazi persecution.

Hedy Morgan ANL-160615-101501001
Hedy Morgan ANL-160615-101501001

Nigel wanted to remember his mother and pay tribute to her musical talent and asked the orchestra if they would dedicate a concert to her.

Hedy (Hedwig) was born in Germany during the First World War to a middle class family living near Mannheim.

She grew up in a loving family, with her two sisters, suffering the trials and tribulations of hyper-inflation and financial collapse that swept Germany in the interwar years.

Despite this Hedy was able to develop her very considerable musical skills on the piano as well as being good at English at school.

Problems began when Hedy’s father explained to the family that he had Jewish ancestry.

With the rise of the Nazis this put the whole family into very real danger.

It was decided that it would be safer if Hedy left Germany and in 1936 at the age of 20 she left her home for England, just shortly before her debut large scale public recital playing Chopin’s 1st Piano Concerto with the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra in the prestigious Stuttgart State Theatre.

Hedy’s father was able to get her a job in north Devon as a school assistant to teach German which soon included music and tennis.

Hedy quickly became involved in the English way of life and not long after met her future husband Ted Morgan whom she married in 1939.

When the war broke out Hedy became part of the British war effort by joining the WAAF’s where she was particularly involved in translation work.

After the war Hedy and Ted lived mainly in the South east of England with their two children, Nigel and Jill being part of the local community wherever they went.

In later years and after she was widowed, Hedy lived near to her son Nigel and his wife Helen and she died in Cavendish at the age of 100.

She was very proud to have received the Queen’s birthday message on reaching 100 and was very grateful to the life that England had given her.

Interestingly, she refused to ever return to Germany.

Nigel wanted a musical tribute to his mother with Sudbury Symphony Orchestra playing the Chopin Piano concerto that his mother missed out on in 1936.

The soloist for the concert, which starts at 6pm, will be Jill Morton.

The orchestra will also be playing music by Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Ippolitov-Ivanov.

Tickets are available from Compact Music, the Tourist Office and by email from tickets@sudburysymphonyorchestra.com.

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