The ultimate demand made on a genious is love of truth.

As we commemorate Rudolf Kempe we pay tribute to an artist who as a musician and human being radiated the finest of qualities gracing the greatest of talents - truthfulness.

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Patron of the Rudolf Kempe Society 1978 to 2012
Rudolf Kempe

No conductor sought fame less and found it more readily.

Edward Greenfield Music Critic

Rudolf Kempe was a musician of the utmost integrity. Totally and consistently at the service of the music he was interpreting. His qualities are rare indeed, and his relatively early death was tragic.

Robert Ponsonby BBC Controller of Music

Dear Friends,

It is with regret that we have to announce the closure of the Rudolf Kempe Society (RKS). After 40 illustrious years, the RKS - passionately driven by its Artistic Director, Cordula Kempe, widow of the esteemed German conductor - has succumbed to the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic, and is unable to continue.

The UK branch of the Society was founded in 1980 by English musicians and later, under the directorship of Mrs Kempe, supported by her committee, became a beacon of quality in classical performance, providing a unique blend of words and music in the intimate setting of The Muses studio in Stratford-upon Avon.

Musicians from top orchestras in the UK and abroad played alongside leading names from stage and screen - particularly the Royal Shakespeare Company - to delight audiences with a wide-ranging programme, created by Mrs Kempe, in the Songs of Apollo series.

A distinctive feature of the Society was its support of young musicians, through master classes and workshops, and by affording them opportunities for concerts and radio recordings both in the UK and in Germany. The concerts in Stratford, especially, provided a unique showcase for their talents.

You can read more about the Society, whose patron is the iconic actor Dame Judy Dench, by clicking here ( and Rudolf Kempe here (

Heart-felt thanks from The Muses go to all friends and supporters who have attended concerts over the years (sometimes travelling from far and wide), made generous donations, and actively helped to keep the memory of Rudolf Kempe alive.

Your commitment and enthusiasm is much appreciated.

While the Society has had to wind down - it has been officially removed from the Charity Commission register – Kempe’s legacy nevertheless lives on, both in the physical archive of the great conductor’s work, now housed in the Staatskapelle in Dresden (State Orchestra of Dresden), and in the memory of those who have enjoyed the entertaining, informative and often deeply moving, experience of attending concerts in what is a very special setting at the heart of Shakespeare’s home town.

Cordula and the RKS committee hope you carry cherished memories of your visits to The Muses and wish you all a Merry Christmas, in these still-difficult times, and a happy, prosperous and, above all, Covid-safe New Year.