With its magnificent architecture, Pera Palace Hotel also draws attention with its famous guests. Hosting many prominent guests from the fields of literature and art from past to present, Pera Palace Hotel also undertakes the task of cultural ambassador of Istanbul. Pera Palace Hotel hosted Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, Pierre Loti, and many more famous names. Yehudi Menuhin, known as the genius child of music history, was among the famous names who stayed at Pera Palace Hotel during his visit to Istanbul.
Born in 1916 to a Jewish American in New York City, Menuhin began music lessons at 4. According to Yehudi Menuhin, the desire to play the violin was based on pure instinct. His talent and passion were so strong that; This wonderful boy began performing professionally at the age of eight. In these years, as a violin virtuoso, Menuhin began to draw attention with his technique and the depth of his musical understanding. Because, according to Menuhin, there is no other instrument that can convey human emotions better than the violin.
Menuhin believed that the notes poured from a musician’s violin were at least as unique as a singer’s voice. The famous musician dreamed of capturing a characteristic sound that could reach the ears and souls of his audiences. That’s why it didn’t take long for Menuhin to transform from a child prodigy into a mature artist.
Menuhin, who went on his first US tour in 1928, also started recording albums in the same year. In 1929 Bruno Walter conducted the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Albert Einstein, who listened to him at a concert during these years, complimented, “I now believe there is a God in heaven.” Going on a world tour in 1935, Menuhin finds himself in the middle of a painful process that changes the whole world at the end of the tour.
With the onset of World War II, Menuhin begins to attend morale concerts for the American army. Afterward, the number of these concerts, which included the soldiers of the allied forces, exceeded 500. Menuhin, who frequently shuttles between America, the Pacific, and Europe with military planes, risks his life as well. The cold and cruel face of the war and the raw pain it causes profoundly affect Menuhin. So he decided to use the experiences he gained during these concerts for the benefit of humanity. Believing that music can be a therapeutic healing tool in 1945, he gave a special show to the victims of the Holocaust.
The war also plants the Live Music Now Foundation seeds, which Menuhin will establish years later. Still a thriving charity, Live Music Now aims to connect disadvantaged audiences with classical music.
By the 1950s, Menuhin turned into a sincere human rights defender with a strong sense of social justice. He challenges the Apartheid South African leader, goes to Israel despite all threats. In the same years, Menuhin discovers yoga by chance. He met a guru in India, where he went to the Famine Relief Concert, and this friendship made the Western world meet with yoga.
Menuhin has brought the world together with classical music by organizing music festivals since 1958. During these years, he also stepped into the conductorship of the orchestra, which he would continue until the end of his life. In 1962, he founded the Mehudin Music School to train talented young musicians.
Although born and raised in America, Menuhin chooses to live with his family in England. In 1965 he was awarded “Honorary Knight of the British Empire” by the Queen. Menuhin also serves as the President of the UNESCO International Music Council. In the same years, he continued his musical studies with Ravi Shankar, whom he had the opportunity to listen to during his visit to India. Menuhin, who was also the conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, published his autobiography, The Neverending Journey, in 1977.
In the last ten years of his life, which Menuhin spent creating utopias in his own words, he managed to fit a lifetime of achievements. He joined Davos, holding a seat in the House of Lords in England. He gave concerts in South Africa to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s freedom. Yehudi Menuhin, who has an extraordinary life story with his never-ending journey, passed away in 1999.