In 1955, Wilfred Ransom, the deputy manager of Barclays Bank in Swiss Cottage, met a Russian concert pianist who was struggling to pay off his overdraft and decided to help him by staging a recital by him in the old Baptist Church Hall in Goodwin Avenue, Mill Hill.

The evening was a success, the pianist paid off his overdraft and the Mill Hill Music Club was born.

Wilfred continued holding concerts and the club became one of the most prestigious in London, with Wilfred as chairman until his retirement in 1994, when Walter Felman, a local entrepreneur, took over.

When he retired, in 2007, Frank Cornofsky, a member of the club’s committee, took the reins, and is now delighted and proud to be organising the celebrations to mark the club’s 60th season.

“It’s an enormous achievement,“ says the Mill Hill resident.

“I think it’s down to the quality of our musicians and the way it’s run. We’ve got a very long history and throughout that time we’ve maintained the level of artist. We consider ourselves to be the most prestigious club in the United Kingdom because of the quality of our artists.“

Wilfred Ransom set the club up to host concerts by many great musicians as well as to promote up and coming young artists just starting out in their careers.

In August 1963, the then young Vladimir Ashkenazi, the Russian pianist and composer, gave one of his first UK recitals, and Artur Rubinstein, the Polish American pianist, told his agent to always book him for ‘the Mill Hill’, while the Amadeus Quartet gave many concerts there in their early days.

A very young Kiri Te Kanawa, the now famous New Zealand soprano, stepped in at short notice to replace another singer who was unwell, and Alfred Brendel, the Austrian pianist, has performed no fewer than 16 times.

Radu Lupu, Jacqueline du Pre, Daniel Barenboim, Isaac Stern, and Pinchas Zuckerman Moieseiwitch have also been among the many distinguished names to have performed for the club’s knowledgeable and appreciative audience.

The Israel Piano Trio have become firm favourites and performed at the club on many occasions, as has the renowned Jerusalem Quartet.

The 60th anniversary programme reflects this history of supporting both the old and the new with concerts by the Leonore Piano Trio at the club’s Diamond Jubilee Celebration Concert this weekend; Jack Liebeck and friends in October; the Carducci Quartet in December; the Martinu Piano Trio in February; the Skampa Quartet in March; the Aviv Quartet in April; and the celebrated pianist Sunwook Kim in May.

“Sunwook Kim has performed for us many times,“ says Frank, “he loves coming back because we helped him when he first came to London. He’s doing very, very well now and we’re delighted he’s agreed to perform for us as part of our Diamond Jubilee season.“

  • The Diamond Jubilee Celebration Concert takes place at The Hall, Henrietta Barnett School, Central Square, Hampstead Garden Suburb, on Sunday, September 21 at 7pm. Details: 020 8959 1047,