Prince Charles Says He’s ‘Moved’ By The Music Of Leonard Cohen

The prince explains that his musical taste was shaped by Holocaust survivors who taught at his Scottish school.

: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales wearing a 'Yalulke,' or Jewish skull cap during the funeral of Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl Cemetery
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The prince explains that his musical taste was shaped by Holocaust survivors who taught at his Scottish school.

In the BBC documentary Private Passions, Prince Charles discussed his taste in music and where the roots of those preferences flourished. The heir to the throne says that from his time at his old prep school, Gordonstoun in Scotland, he developed a taste for the music of Leonard Cohen.

The Times of Israel says that Prince Charles’ alma mater, Gordonstoun, in Elgin, Moray, Scotland (Prince Philip also attended the Scottish academy) was founded by German-Jewish educator Kurt Hahn (who also founded Outward Bound) who employed a number of Holocaust survivors among his teaching staff, inspired the young prince.

“In those days, the early ’60s, we had these marvelous music teachers who had escaped the Holocaust in Germany and came to Gordonstoun and taught music there.”

The prince says that these teachers molded his musical taste going forward, and he attributes that education to his love for a wide variety of styles and musicians.

When asked to list his favorite pieces of music, the prince mentions the 18th-century opera by Jean-Marie Leclair as well as Cohen’s “Take This Waltz,” loosely adapted from a poem by Spanish poet Federico García Lorca.

“I’ve always loved Leonard Cohen’s voice and his whole approach to the way he sang.”

Leonard Cohen, a Jewish-Canadian musician who died in 2016, is most famous for his song “Hallelujah.”

“He was obviously incredibly sophisticated in the way he sang, but also wrote. I find it very moving, the words are so extraordinary, sort of Salvador Dalí-like. They lead you into this remarkable Dalí-like world.”

Prince Charles stresses the importance of music education in schools, saying that “we shoot ourselves in the foot by ignoring music.”

According to Classic FM, the prince says that in addition to passion and enthusiasm, music and art are great contributors to the British economy.

“People forget – or may not realize – what an enormous contribution the creative arts make to the whole economy. It’s immense.”

The prince says that thanks to musical education, he can play the cello and the trumpet, and he loves seeing school programs which continue their arts programs.

“When you go to schools which still have it, it is wonderful to see the enthusiasm on the part of the children in their orchestras.”

Prince Charles says he credits Gordonstoun for encouraging him to try an instrument and jokes that he happily played the trumpet there.

“The magic of playing in an orchestra, even if you’re not very good, is very special.”