Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to the Editor of the Times

Letter No.: 
August 17th 1955.

From R. Vaughan Williams,
10, Hanover Terrace,
Regents Park,
London, N.W.1.


About twenty years ago Iris Lemare and Anne Macnaghten started a series of concerts at which young and unknown composers had an opportunity to win their spurs. Artistically the concerts have been a great success and have achieved their purpose nobly. Several young composers have been given their first, or almost their first chance at these concerts whose names now loom large in the public eye.
The concerts have been carried on with very little moral or financial support; indeed, if it had not been for the generosity of the performers who accept almost nominal fees the work could not have gone on.
Last spring, at the end of the last concert of the season the blow fell. Iris Lemare had already retired from the scene, owing to preoccupation with her work in York; now, Anne Macnaghten and her husband, Arnold Ashby, told us that they were leaving London and the concerts would cease. Many of us felt that this was not to be borne, so a meeting was called of those interested and it was decided to start again with an enlarged Committeee and an efficient executive. It is proposed to give six concerts during the coming season, and to start a guarantee fund. Of this, about £200 has already been promised, but more is wanted if the concerts are to continue, and reasonable fees to be paid to the artists.
It has been suggested that these concerts are no longer needed and that other bodies have shouldered their burden. Of these The Society for the Promotion of New Music deals, quite rightly, chiefly with immature work; The Patron’s Fund has apparently ceased to encourage the young composer; and I do not think that The New Music Concerts on the Third Programme will lay any claim to cover the ground, so there is, I think, a great need for the Macnaghten Concerts to continue.
Miss Grace Richardson has kindly consented to become our honorary Secretary and will answer any enquiries. Her address is

The address of the honorary treasurer is:

He will, I need hardly say, eagerly await further donations or guarantees.
   Yours faithfully


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
Add MS 62949, f. 171
General notes: 

Typewritten draft letter, heavily annotated and added to in pencil by Anne Macnaghten (additions and corrections not noted here). Enclosure to VWL3183.

Original database number: