Troubador The Mystery behind the Voice

Released: 30/04/2012

eISBN: 9781848768161

Format: eBook

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The Mystery behind the Voice

A biography of Alfred Wolfsohn


The Mystery behind the Voice is a biography of Alfred Wolfsohn - singing teacher, guru and philosopher. The loss of his singing voice as a result of shell-shock in the First World War catapulted Wolfsohn into a lifelong exploration of the human voice. He became a pioneering voice teacher, working in Germany in the 1930s and in London from 1947 to 1962. Wolfsohn saw the voice as the most revealing part of the human psyche and, in developing his philosophy, he embraced art, creativity, dream, self understanding and our concepts of a saviour and God. His unique ideas, in many ways ahead of their time, are fully explored in this book, with extensive use of original material from Wolfsohn’s own writing. As a singing teacher, Wolfsohn ignored the constraints of gender and extended the ranges of both male and female voices. Sheila was one of his pupils and experienced his ideas and teaching first-hand, making her well able to describe their incredible impact. Wolfsohn also had a profound influence on Charlotte Salomon, the young Jewish artist killed at Auschwitz, whose unique paintings have been exhibited worldwide, and on Roy Hart, his most experienced pupil, who went on to found the internationally known Roy Hart Theatre Company. Wolfsohn’s life and legacy constitute this well-researched book. Using the author’s personal insight to explore this largely neglected life, The Mystery behind the Voice will appeal to anyone interested in the voice in particular, the human being in general, and existing admirers of Wolfsohn. “I wanted to write a tribute to the teacher who has had a lifelong influence on me and whose ideas and life-story I saw fascinating audiences whenever I lectured,” says Sheila on her inspiration for the book.

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Sheila Braggins

Sheila Braggins, born in Jamaica in 1928, now lives and writes in London.

A career as a physiotherapist led to her first two published books, “The back, malfunctions and care,” (Mosby 1993) and “Back care: a clinical approach (Churchill Livingstone 2000).

Her most recent work, published with Matador, is more personal and tells the story of Alfred Wolfsohn, the guru, philosopher and singing teacher, who influenced her entire life. Sheila became a pupil of Wolfsohn’s in 1947 and was a member of the circle who tended him until his death in 1962. Sheila chose to remain in London when his pupils formed the Roy Hart Theatre group and moved to France in 1967, but she stayed in close contact with them. She collaborated on translations of Wolfsohn’s manuscripts and has latterly become a respected authority on Wolfsohn’s life and ideas, lecturing at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam and at conferences in France, Cologne and London.

The author in Amsterdam
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