The namesake

Siegmund Seligmann

The Jewish banker Siegmund Seligmann (born August 19, 1853 in Verden / Aller, died October 12, 1925 in Hanover) joined the “Continental Caoutchouc- und Gutta-Percha-Compagnie” in 1876 as an authorized signatory. Three years later, he already served on the board. Under his leadership, Continental developed into a world-class company. In 1923, the city of Hanover awarded him with an honorary citizenship.

In 1910, Siegmund Seligmann had his portrait painted by the painter Max Liebermann. Today, the portrait is on permanent loan from the descendants of Siegmund Seligmann and can be seen in the Villa Seligmann.


The initiator

100 years after the completion of Villa Seligmann and Siegmund Seligmann’s moving into the house, the Siegmund Seligmann Foundation was established in 2006, initiated by Professor Andor Izsák. Enabled by a great amount of civic commitment, the foundation for Villa Seligmann, the House of Jewish Music, was laid in order to create a place of encounter and dialogue.

Professor Izsák was born in Budapest in 1944 and studied at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. Already in his student days, he was organist at the Budapest Dohány Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Europe. After many years of teaching at the Béla Bartók Conservatory and the legendary Fodor Music School, as well as choral and opera conductor, Andor Izsák moved to Germany.

His intensive involvement with Jewish music (compositional activities, teaching, research and performances with renowned representatives of synagogal music from all over the world) resulted in the founding of the European Center for Jewish Music in 1988. It became an institute of the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media under his direction in 1992. In 2003 Andor Izsák was appointed to the professorship of Synagogal Music.

Today, Professor Izsák holds the position of Honorary President of the Siegmund Seligmann Foundation and the Siegmund Seligmann Gesellschaft e.V. as well as of the Friends of Villa Seligmann e.V. Dr. Arno Beyer, former deputy director of the NDR, published a biography about Professor Izsák’s life, titled “Andor der Spielmann – Ein jüdisches Musikerleben”.