Shock over caricature in BBC Proms programme

By Rosa Doherty, September 16, 2015

Classical music lovers were left stunned when they spotted an "antisemitic" illustration in a BBC Proms programme.

Gillian Stern, from Finchley, said she was shocked that a "hideously and very obviously antisemitic cartoon" of the violinist Leopold Auer appeared in the programme for a Proms performance of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto.

Auer was a violinist and teacher of significance, and a number of composers, including Tchaikovsky, dedicated pieces to him.

Ms Stern said: "This image of Leopold had been printed large in the programme, with no full context or explanation of its questionable nature.

"Leopold was one of the most important violin teachers of his time. If you look him up you will see this fine man, and there are plenty of pictures of him available - but they have used what was at the time clearly a caricature.

"It is the most extraordinary thing. I can't get my head around why they would have picked that."

She added: "I was so shocked I tweeted it to them to complain, but no one got back to me."

Surprised by the image was violin teacher Nigel Goldberg, who said: "It is an antisemitic cartoon and it is completely out of context. There is no explanation of the image at all. Anyone I've shown it to, Jewish or not, has been stunned."

A spokesperson for the BBC Proms was unavailable for comment.

Last updated: 5:29pm, September 18 2015