Sir Ralph Kohn, who fled from his birthplace of Leipzig from the Nazis, is to be honoured by the city for his commitment to its most famous resident – Johann Sebastian Bach.
Sir Ralph, 83, a pharmaceutical businessman, has been awarded Leipzig's Medal of Honour. His Kohn Foundation supports innovation in science, medicine and the arts.
A baritone singer, who has made 18 recordings, Sir Ralph is a particular devotee of Bach's music, and his foundation supports the Royal Academy of Music's Bach Prize.
He said: "Leipzig was practically unknown to me; I have no memories of it. But it is a remarkable city, and such a musical one. Bach wasn't born there, but he wrote almost all his masterpieces in the city. I have visited many times in the last 20 years and I feel a close affinity to it now."
Sir Ralph is now a long-standing member of the trustees of the Bach archive and a major contributor to Bach-related research and events in the city.
He said: "It was the city that ejected and rejected me, and I think this is their way of expressing their gratitude of the commitment that I, as a Jewish man who was forced to leave, have still been able to give to the city. They have obviously found that moving. Getting the award was a great surprise."
The family fled from Germany in 1933 and moved to Amsterdam, and then to Salford in 1940, where Sir Ralph attended Salford Grammar School. He said: "My family was extremely Orthodox. But I have never thought of Bach's music as Christian liturgy."