Orchestras Live is collaborating with Suffolk Archives, Britten Sinfonia and the National Horse Racing Museum on a project inspired by the story of Fritz Ball, a Jewish lawyer and musician who fled Nazi Germany with his family and his cello.
Fritz lived for several months in Newmarket at what is now the National Horse Racing Museum, and performed extensively in the locality before being interned at a camp on the Isle of Man, eventually emigrating to the USA.
Suffolk Archives has researched this story in detail, using Fritz Ball’s memoir which has been provided by his granddaughter who still owns his cello.
Orchestras Live is producing a music and physical theatre project exploring both the story itself and contemporary themes and interpretations of migration, tolerance and creative exchange.
The project began with an intimate performance of music and words on 26th January in one of the galleries at the Museum. A string quartet from Britten Sinfonia performed pieces of classical repertoire known to have been played by Fritz Ball. These pieces were interspersed with a narrative based on excerpts from his memoir, performed by Drama students from Newmarket Academy.
A lot of things in London are strange. We are surprised by the amount of food in the shop windows, so much fruit and vegetables, some of which we do not know the names. We are surprised by the traffic in the street, the flow of cars and buses. Why do almost all girls wear makeup? And why do so many people smoke on the bus and the train? We would like to stay in London longer, but we have to move on. Our new home is in Newmarket.
~ Extract from the memoir of Fritz Ball, 1939
This event, which tied in with Holocaust Memorial Day, was filmed to form a learning resource for Suffolk Archives and will be part of an exhibition that will be held at the Museum between April and August 2022.
Watch the film of the event below:
The second stage of the project will see composer Sarah Freestone working with young musicians from West Suffolk Youth Orchestra and Houldsworth Valley Primary School in Newmarket over several months.
Taking inspiration from the Museum’s buildings and grounds, the wartime story of human resilience and current issues around migration, the young people and artistic team will create their own collaborative piece for live performance together with Britten Sinfonia on 4th July, linked to International Refugee Week. The outdoor venue for this culmination will be the Rothschild Yard at the National Horse Racing Museum, very close to where the Ball family and other refugees lived during their time at Newmarket.
You can read more about Suffolk Archives' research into the Fritz Ball story here.
We Have To Move On is produced by Suffolk Archives, Orchestras Live, Britten Sinfonia and the National Horse Racing Museum with support from Arts Council England, Association of Jewish Refugees, Orchestras Live, Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Music Education Hub, the Weston Culture Fund, The Ganzoni Trust and The Chivers Trust.