The Material Question

‘Arriving in Berlin, I obtained lodging in various hotels for all the people who had travelled with me and rented, in a part of Berlin called Schmargendorf, a large hall for continuing the interrupted work. And then I immediately began to travel about Germany, going to different places where various acquaintances had found possible buildings for the Institute.

‘After seeing a certain number of them, I finally chose, in Hellerau near the city of Dresden, a house which had been specially designed and equipped on a rather grand scale for a new cultural movement, recently much talked about, called the Dalcroze system.

‘Finding this house and its installations more or less suitable for the founding and further development of the headquarters of the Institute, I resolved to acquire the complete establishment. But while carrying on negotiations with the owner, a proposition was made to me, by a group of English people who had become interested in my ideas, to open the main Institute in London; and they offered to undertake all the expenses and problems of organization.

‘In view of the precarious financial situation brought about by the continuing crisis in every country, affecting both myself and those with whom I had dealings, I was tempted by this offer, and went to London to see for myself the state of affairs there, on the spot.

‘As the progress of the work in Berlin under my direction was of great importance to me, and any prolonged absence would have been detrimental, and as I could not work out all the questions connected with the English proposal in a short time, I decided to travel to London every two or three weeks for several days; and, each time, I went by a different route in order to become acquainted with other European countries.

‘As a result of my observations during these journeys, I came to the definite conclusion that the best place for the foundation of the Institute would be neither Germany nor England, but France.

‘France gave me the impression of a country which was then politically and economically more stable than the others; and although less central geographically than Germany, yet its capital, Paris, was considered the capital of the world, so France seemed to be a sort of cross­roads of all the races and nationalities on earth. Consequently to my eyes it appeared to be the most suitable base for the diffusion of my ideas.