The Rushworth Foundation pledges support for Yoko Ono Lennon Centre
Alumnus, honorary graduate and founder of The Rushworth Foundation, which supports music, the arts and education in Liverpool, Jonathan Rushworth, (LLB Hons 1970, Hon LLD 2018) has reaffirmed his long-standing support for the University by making a significant gift to the University’s new teaching and performance facility.
The Rushworth Conductor’s Room is one of a number of new rooms to be named in the new state-of-the-art Yoko Ono Lennon Centre, alongside the Tung Auditorium and the Paul Brett Lecture Theatre.
Jonathan’s appointment as Campaign Ambassador to the new Centre further confirms the connection between the Rushworth family and the rich musical and cultural heritage of the city.
Jonathan’s great-great-grandfather, William Rushworth, was an organ builder who established Rushworth’s in Liverpool in the 1840s. As one of the largest organ builders in the UK, Rushworth’s built organs for cathedrals, churches, universities, schools and concert halls throughout the UK and overseas, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
The subsequent generations of the family expanded the business into selling pianos and all types of musical instrument, as well as recordings and sheet music. Called the “Largest Music House in Europe” the business had branches across the North West and North Wales. The fifth generation of the business was run by Jonathan’s three brothers.
The business became central to music in Liverpool and promoted and managed concerts and music festivals, competitions and societies. Jonathan’s father and grandfather established, for instance, the annual Rushworth Festival of Music and Verse in 1943, which ran for some 50 years. The family’s approach was to encourage the appreciation and performance of music across society, in particular by the young.
As a major contributor to the Merseybeat pop scene of the 1960s, Paul McCartney’s first guitar was supplied by Rushworth’s. James Rushworth, Jonathan’s father, later presented John Lennon and George Harrison with their Gibson guitars, specially imported from Chicago.
Now retired, Jonathan enjoyed a successful career in Law following his graduation with a Law degree from the University in 1970. After completing his training as a solicitor in Liverpool, he built his career as a partner at Slaughter and May in the City of London, where he had a company and finance practice.
As a long-standing supporter of the University, Jonathan is a passionate supporter of arts and culture. His support for musical scholarships, in particular the Classical Music Industry MA at the University, has allowed students to realise their ambition of forging a career in the music industry.
He also contributed to an extensive research project by the University’s Department of Music in 2011, which explored the contribution the Rushworth family business has made to the cultural life of Liverpool.
Vice Chancellor Janet Beer said: “Jonathan’s generous contribution to the Yoko Ono Lennon Centre continues the legacy of the Rushworth family in providing access to music and the arts across the region. His support will help enrich the cultural life for future generations of students and musicians in Merseyside.”
Jonathan Rushworth said: “My family has promoted and supported musical appreciation and performance in the city for over a century. I’m delighted that as Campaign Ambassador for the Yoko Ono Lennon Centre, I can continue that tradition by supporting such an inspiring new purpose-built building, which will enhance the reputation and opportunities for the Department of Music, the University and the city. Music is such an important part of the heritage and legacy of Liverpool and the new hall will build on that as an exciting addition for music making in the future. ”
The University of Liverpool gratefully acknowledges The Rushworth Foundation for their generous contribution made to establish the Rushworth Conductor’s Room.
Find out more about the Yoko Ono Lennon Centre and how you can support the campaign here: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/yoko/