DAVID CONWAY is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at University College London. He has been at various times (and sometimes simultaneously) a stockbroker, a local politician, a manufacturer, a management consultant, and the founder and director of an international music festival ('Indian Summer in Levoca', Slovakia); since 1991 he has been a senior expert for the European Commission working on development aid programmes in the former Soviet Union.
Despite the above diversions, he has written the first study of how and why Jews entered, and became successful, in the music professions of Europe between 1780 and 1850, leading to Richard Wagner's splenetic expression of Jew-hatred, 'Jewry in Music'.
Based on extensive new research, and setting out a rich background, not only of music but of social change, technological innovation and political upheaval, Conway's 'Jewry in Music' tells the remarkable story, through biographies of the famous, the infamous and the forgotten, of how it was that Jews rose from being despised outcasts at the turn of the nineteenth century to being considered a gifted 'musical race'. In the process he overturns much conventional academic wisdom on major musical figures including Meyerbeer, Mendelssohn and Wagner.