The Wagner Journal

David Conway, Jews, Music and Wagner

David Conway, Jews, Music and Wagner

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March 2012, Volume 6, Number 1, 4–14.

At the start of the 19th century, there were virtually no Jews active as musicians in the world of musique savante. Moreover the Jews were held to be totally without knowledge of, and without the ability to learn or appreciate, European culture. By the end of the century, however, the conventional wisdom was that the Jews were a musical people, and they held leading positions within almost all branches of the musical profession – as well as associated areas including management, publishing and patronage. Jews, who formed something less than 1 per cent of Europe’s population, were clearly punching above their weight in the world of music. Something had happened – but what, exactly? 

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