Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 July 2011
This is the most valuable musical prize in tbe United Kingdom. It originated in a movement among the friends of Mendelssohn at Leipzig, who, shortly after his death, resolved to found scholarships in his memory, to be competed for and held in that Conservatorium in the foundation of which, not long before, he had greatly assisted. They appealed for help in this undertaking to English admirers of the departed composer, and were met with ready sympathy and co-operation. A committee was formed in London, with Sir G. Smart as Chairman, Mr. Carl Klingemann, Mendelssohn's intimate friend, as Secretary, and Mr. E. Buxton, Treasurer.
The first effort towards raising money was made in the shape of a performance of the ‘Elijah’ on a large scale, to which Mlle. Jenny Lind gave her willing and inestimable services. This took place Dec. 15, 1848, under the direction of Sir Julius (then Mr.) Benedict, with a full band and chorus, the Sacred Harmonic Society and Mr. Hullah's Upper Schools contributing to the efficiency of the latter force. performance; and this, with a few donations, was invested in the purchase of £1050, Bank 3 per cent annuities—the nucleus of the present Scholarship Fund.