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Joseph Horovitz

Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
1 May 1938
Interview number:


Dr Bea Lewkowicz

Date of Interview:

Interview Summary:

Joseph Horovitz was born 1926 in Vienna. His father Bela Horovitz was the founder of the Phaidon Verlag. His father had gone into partnership with an English publisher (Allen and Unwin) and thus avoided Aryanisation. At the time of the Anschluss Joseph’s parents were not in Austria and it was arranged that he and his sisters travelled first to Italy and then to Belgium. On the 15 March 1938 they came to the UK.


Soon after arriving Joseph was sent to a school for refugee children, run by Mr. and Mrs. Schindler, Regent's Park School. During the war the family moved to Oxford and Joseph first went to the evacuated UCS and then to the City of Oxford High School. He studied Music at New College Oxford and at the Royal College of Music. His first post was as Music Director of the Old Vic in Bristol. He later became a very well known composer (of ballets, concertos, and works for brass bands). One of his very popular works is ‘Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo’.


Full Interview


You should find out who you are by asking yourself: ‘what are my antecedents? Where do I come from?’ Then you will understand who you are. And then you will have the strength to cope with the problems that we all have to cope with. Other people won’t understand you unless you tell them who you are.

It was the first time I saw television. The television was in the hall of that little hotel in Bloomsbury and all I could remember is it was a tiny screen, it must have been nine inches across, and it was standing in the hall and the pictures were blue and white. Not black and white but blue and white. I don’t know why. And it was flickering and I said to my father, I said, papa look, a film, a Kino, a cinema here in a room. And he said yes that’s a new invention and so on. This was 1938.

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