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Souvenir de Kiev 7.12.2013 (not me playing alas!)
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David Conway / Smerus[edit]

OAP, British, born in London, married, piano and sometime bassoon player, three children, five grandchildren, general dilettante.

Graduated from King's College, Cambridge University in 1971: BA in economics and natural sciences (maths and psychology). MA Cambridge (for those who don't know, this is a sort of English joke) 1975. As a mature student I completed my PhD at University College London (2002-2008). (Dissertation on the entry of Jews to musical professions in the period 1780-1850). Cambridge University Press published my book Jewry in Music: Entry to the Profession from the Enlightenment to Richard Wagner at the end of 2011. I am a contributor to the Cambridge Companion to Jewish Music (2015), and contribute to other publications from time to time.

Married (by Louis Jacobs), to Nadia, who was born in Prague but was brought up in Slovakia. We were amongst the founding members of the New North London Synagogue. We now own a mediaeval house in Levoca, Slovakia, which we are gradually restoring. We also organise an annual international music festival in the town. (2019 will be the twelfth year).

Both Nadia and myself were (for too many years) elected local government councillors for a London borough, for the Conservative party (to which we no longer belong). Nadia was Mayor there in 1993-4, almost certainly the first Conservative mayor in the UK to have been a past president of the Slovak Communist Youth Movement. She was awarded the MBE in the 2009 New Year's Honours List, for 'services to the National Health Service and to the community in North London'. She has also been a trustee of the charity 'Action for ME', being herself a sufferer from chronic fatigue syndrome.

I was an early contributor to the Find a Grave web-site. Over 2000 of my photos are still up on the site. I am gradually uploading those which are relevant to the appropriate articles in Wikipedia.

My employment history has included the London Stock Exchange, the textile industry, and management consultancy. Until January 2009 I was a Non-Executive Director of a National Health Service Primary Care Trust in London, and also a Lay Governor of Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication. Over the past 25 years I divided my time between researching, writing and lecturing on music and social history, lounging about in Slovakia, and working on development aid projects in the former Soviet Union on behalf of the European Commission and DFID. In 1993-6 I was the first Englishman to live in Kaliningrad since the RAF bombed it to pieces in 1944 (when it was still Koenigsberg). From 1998-2000 I was based in Brussels, Belgium, heading an EU project and travelling throughout the Commonwealth of Independent States. Other projects were based in Leningrad Oblast, Georgia and Ukraine. From February 2009 to February 2012 I was based more or less full time in Kiev working on the INOGATE programme. From 2013 to 2015 I was a leader of the Eastern Partnership Youth Unit in Kiev, and completed in March 2015 a project in Azerbaijan. In 2015/16 I carried out projects in Uzbekistan.

Since June 2018, having discovered at last what I want to be when I grow up, I have been Chair of Hampstead Garden Opera, one of London's leading opera initiatives, providing experience for rising young singers. I am also a member of the editorial board of Jewish Renaissance magazine.

15 minutes of fame: in 2003 I was a member of the University College London University Challenge team. We got to the quarter-finals, but in the previous round we got the (then) 11th highest score ever made in the programme (330).

15 minutes of non-entity: in 1992 I won the 'Brain of Enfield' competition.

Personal Weblinks[edit]

For many excellent contributions related to the people of Russia and Russian and Soviet history, I hereby award you this original barnstar! Enjoy, Irpen
Peace Barnstar 6.png The Barnstar of Diplomatic Exemplitude
I, Coppertwig, award you, Smerus, this Barnstar of Diplomatic Exemplitude for this edit, which I held in mind as an ideal to strive for while writing this edit, which earned me this barnstar.

(Some of the) articles I have created / to which I have made substantial textual contributions[edit]

Please do not feed the trolls.
The rule I alas constantly break; must cure myself.

Sayings of a Jewish Buddha[edit]

(From the book ZEN JUDAISM by David M Bader)

If there is no self, whose arthritis is this?

Be here now. Be someplace else later. Is that so complicated?

Drink tea and nourish life; with the first sip, joy; with the second sip, satisfaction; with the third sip, peace; with the fourth, a Danish.

Wherever you go, there you are. Your luggage is another story.

Accept misfortune as a blessing. Do not wish for perfect health, or a life without problems. What would you talk about?

There is no escaping karma. In a previous life, you never called, you never wrote, you never visited. And whose fault was that?

The Tao does not speak. The Tao does not blame. The Tao does not take sides. The Tao has no expectations. The Tao demands nothing of others. The Tao is not Jewish.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this and attaining Enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

Let your mind be as a floating cloud. Let your stillness be as a wooded glen. And sit up straight. You'll never meet the Buddha with such rounded shoulders.

Deep inside you are ten thousand flowers. Each flower blossoms ten thousand times. Each blossom has ten thousand petals. You might want to see a specialist.

Be aware of your body. Be aware of your perceptions. Keep in mind that not every physical sensation is a symptom of a terminal illness.

I, Joseph, hereby award you this Georgian Golden Fleece Order for the work you have done for the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Keep sailing the Euxeinos Pontos!Sosomk 10:14, 17 July 2006 (UTC)