Has the composer of Jerusalem been ‘cancelled’ for his century-old views on race? Rooms honouring Sir Hubert Parry at the elite Royal College of Music ‘will be renamed to avoid offending today’s students’
- Rooms named after Jerusalem composer Sir Hubert Parry will be renamed
- Sources told The Mail On Sunday there were concerns about racist comments
- Parry said to be a favourite of King George V who preferred Jerusalem to anthem
The composer of Jerusalem has been effectively ‘cancelled’ by the Royal College of Music (RCM) because his views on race a century ago are unacceptably offensive to today’s woke students, The Mail on Sunday understands.
Sir Hubert Parry is celebrated for his music to the words of the poet William Blake, and is a favourite of King Charles.
Three rooms at the elite college of which he was a director for almost a quarter of a century have long borne his name.
But now all three are instead to bear the names of philanthropists who have made donations to the RCM.
Sir Hubert Parry is celebrated for his music to the words of the poet William Blake, and is a favourite of King Charles. But comments of his have caused concern
A source close to the college told the MoS: ‘Some students at the college believe Parry has been targeted because of some unsavoury views on race which in the past have been brushed aside’
It is understood that the change has been driven by concern over statements he made which today are offensively racist.
He wrote of mixed-race composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, a former student at the RCM: ‘Like his half-brothers of primitive race he loved plenty of sound, plenty of colour… it was the very simplicity and unconsciousness of his character which caused the racial motives and impulses to be revealed so clearly.’
A source close to the college told the MoS: ‘Some students at the college believe Parry has been targeted because of some unsavoury views on race which in the past have been brushed aside.
‘But many who love Jerusalem will see this as another chipping away of British identity.’
The East Parry Room has been renamed the Carne Room after benefactor Philip Carne, whose eponymous trust provides arts scholarships. The MoS understands the West Parry Room and the Inner Parry Room are also being renamed in honour of donors.
Parry is a favourite of King Charles and was said to be favoured by King George V, who preferred Jerusalem to God Save The King
Parry was head of the RCM from 1895 until his death aged 70 in 1918. His 1916 composition of Jerusalem is belted out at sports events and is often called the unofficial English national anthem.
King George V reportedly preferred it to God Save The King, while our new monarch is a great champion of Parry as well as a patron of the RCM.
In 2011, the then Prince of Wales presented a BBC documentary on the composer, saying his music ‘gives you a tingle up the spine’.
A spokeswoman for the RCM said: ‘The suite of rooms is called the Parry Rooms. Individual rooms have been renamed to reflect the generosity of recent donors.’ She declined to comment on the suggestion that the name change had been prompted by Parry’s views on race.
The composer’s biographer, Professor Jeremy Dibble of Durham University, said: ‘Parry believed in what the college set out to do, which was to make scholarships available to people who would normally not have been able to go to musical conservatoires such as the RCM. He was a very liberal-minded man.
‘I wasn’t aware of these “renamings” but I’m relieved the suite is still going to bear Parry’s name. He was, after all, one of the institution’s greatest luminaries.’
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