One of our school buildings, at 103 Great Portland Street has a very interesting musical history!
103 Great Portland Street was the home of Sir George Smart, who was not only an expert violinist, organist, teacher and conductor, but also one of the chief musical leaders and organisers in England. Felix Mendelssohn lodged intermittently during 1829, 1832 and 1833. In 1832 he was ensconced at number 103 when Thomas Attwood conducted the world premiere of Fingal’s Cave at The King’s Theatre.
In 1826, Weber was in London to conduct his opera Oberon at Covent Garden, and stayed with Smart at 103 while here. He was suffering from a throat disease and was essentially unfit to travel, but came because he needed the money. Weber conducted the first performance of Oberon in April and was supposed to conduct its run, but was so exhausted he decided to cut short his stay and return to Germany. However, he died, here at 103, before he could do so, on 4th June.
The plaque at 103
Sir George Smart (1776-1867)