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Early music expert, anti-apartheid activist to spark intellectual life at Cornell

Christopher Hogwood
Albert Sachs

Two new A.D. White Professors-at-Large have been appointed to help spark intellectual and cultural life at Cornell. They are musicologist Christopher Hogwood and anti-apartheid activist Albert "Albie" Sachs. Their six-year terms run through June 2018.

Hogwood, a conductor, musicologist and keyboard player, is best known as a leading figure in the early music movement. He is a pioneering advocate of the use of old instruments, or historically accurate copies, for the performance of music composed before 1800. Historically informed performance involves scientific inquiry into historic materials, process of decay, conservation and restoration methods and philosophies, as well as technologies and handcraft techniques of earlier periods.

His contributions reach beyond music to the history of instruments and technology, English and German cultural studies, connections between music and the visual arts, and the politics of music in society and in education. A teacher-musician, he embraces the interests of the scholarly and amateur music communities.

As a conductor, he has had numerous residencies and directorships including, most recently, at the Basel Kammerorchester in Switzerland 2000-06. He is the chief guest conductor at the Posnan Philharmonic Orchestra, Poland.

He is also conductor laureate of the Handel and Hayden Society in Boston, and, in England, emeritus director of the Academy of Ancient Music, emeritus honorary professor of music at the University of Cambridge and Gresham Professor of Music at Gresham College.

Hogwood's discography, which includes the complete Mozart and Beethoven symphonies, boasts more than 200 recordings with the Academy of Ancient Music on Decca, many of which have attracted some of the world's most prestigious awards.

Sachs is a former South African Constitutional Court Justice who was at the forefront of anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.

He began his career in human rights activism as a second-year law student, at age 17: He was one of the first whites to participate in the anti-apartheid movement's Defiance Campaign Against Unjust Laws at the University of Cape Town in 1952. After graduating, he defended people charged under racist statutes. After several arrests, he went into exile in England and Mozambique, where he lost an arm and the sight in one eye when a bomb was placed in his car in 1988.

Through the 1980s, Sachs helped draft the African National Congress' (ANC) Code of Conduct and prepare the country's new democratic constitution. In the 1990s, he became the ANC's national executive and took part in the negotiations that made South Africa a constitutional democracy. Then-president Nelson Mandela appointed Sachs in 1994 as a judge on the Constitutional Court, where he earned the reputation as the conscience of the court. His landmark judgments included one that made South Africa the fifth nation in the world to recognize same-sex marriage.

Sachs has written numerous books on human rights including "The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs" (1978), "Running to Maputo" (1990), "The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law" (2009) and "The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter" (2011).

There are 19 active A.D. White Professors-at-Large. They visit campus at least two times for about a week during their six-year terms to conduct public programs and engage in intellectual exchange with faculty and students in classrooms, laboratories and informal settings. Past appointees include filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni, primatologist Jane Goodall, novelists Toni Morrison and Eudora Welty, poets Octavio Paz and Adrienne Rich, physician Oliver Sacks, and actor John Cleese.

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