Gustav Holst in Salonika : exhibition now on!

It is nearly 100 years since composer Gustav Holst went to Salonika to work as a musical organiser and educator with the YMCA. It is very appropriate, then, that his sojourn with the British Salonika Force should  be commemorated by the Holst Birthplace Museum with a special exhibition.

The museum is in Cheltenham and the exhibition, which is supported by a number of special events, runs from 10 July to 15 December 2018. You can read more about the exhibition on the Holst Birthplace Museum web site:

That Holst’s efforts were appreciated can be seen in this article from The Mosquito in September 1929:

It is not out of place to remind our readers (many of whom must have been present) of the brilliant concert of music by British composers given by the 43rd General Hospital in the theatre of the 52nd general Hospital, Salonika, on Monday February 24, 1919. Sergt WC Mann, RA, at this memorable concert sang Villiers Stanford’s “Sea Songs”, accompanied by a chorus of sixty nurses and officers trained by Capt. Vowles. The orchestra of the Artillery Training School was under the direction of Gustav Holst, and enthusiasm and interest were so great that Generals and red caps sat in the orchestra, on the ground, in the dressing rooms and in any odd corner, five men and one dog sitting on the double bass case. The only singers were Sergt Mann and Gunner Guest; Mr Holst and the orchestra providing the rest of the entertainment.

Author: Andy Hutt

Andy's interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Arthur, who served in Salonika as a sapper with the Royal Engineers from 1916-1918. Opinions expressed in these posts are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.

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