...Philadeplphia would be shocked to see Mr Stokowski going shoeless into the meditation room. He played a lot of his trial records for us the other night and they were wonderful...That extract* comes from a letter written by Erma Williams, who was the sister of Jiddu Krishnamurti's close associate and purported lover Rosalind Rajagopal. It dates from 1928 when Krishnamurti was still being promoted by the Theosophical Society as the 'vehicle' of the expected World Teacher, and it refers to Leopold Stokowski's attendance at the Theosophical Society's summer camp at Erde Castle in Holland. Theosophy has attracted many musicians including John Foulds, Cyril Scott, Ruth Crawford Seeger and Dane Rudhyar. Mary Lutyens, mother of the composer Elizabeth Lutyens, was a fervent disciple of Krishnamurti and also his editor and biographer, although her daughter developed a strong aversion to the spiritual movement. Another celebrated musician who embraced Theosophy was Alexander Scriabin, and in an example of Theosophic convergence Stokowski gave the US premiere of the Poem of Ecstacy in Philadelphia in 1916. It would indeed be shocking to find one of today's thoroughly modern celebrity maestros associating themselves with a spiritual movement, let alone shedding their Louis Vuitton footwear to enter a meditation room.
* Extract is from Radha Rajagopal Sloss' book Lives in the Shadow with J. Krishnamurti. Header photo, which fortuitously does not show Stoki's feet, comes via Wikipedia. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.