The Trust was founded by Dr Margaret Lobo in memory of Otakar Kraus OBE, the Czech born English baritone. Otakar Kraus was a student of Konrad Wallerstein in Prague and of Fernando Capri in Milan.
In 1939, he came to England, where he sang with the Carl Rosa Opera Company. Then, in 1946, he joined the English Opera Group, creating Tarquinius in Benjamin Britten’s Rape of Lucretia. From 1951 to 1973 he appeared at London’s Covent Garden, where he created King Fisher in Tippett’s The Midsummer Marriage in 1955. After his retirement, Otakar Kraus devoted himself to teaching. His pupils included Matthew Best, Gwynne Howell, Robert Lloyd, Jonathan Summers, Sir John Tomlinson and Willard White. In 1973 he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.
FOUNDING OF OKMT
Dr Margaret Lobo founded the Otakar Kraus Music Trust in 1991 in memory of opera singer and voice teacher, Otakar Kraus. Otakar Kraus helped Margaret Lobo, also an opera singer, to recover her voice after it was damaged. Margaret qualified as a music therapist at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1987, and with her husband Walter, built a music studio in their back garden in Twickenham, dedicating her life to providing music therapy through an extraordinary range of projects designed to help people with physical, psychological, behavioural and learning difficulties, welcoming everyone, including some who were considered beyond reach.
Together with a small team of dedicated therapists and staff, she built up the work of the Trust from modest beginnings to an organisation operating in 15 venues in South West London providing over 3,000 music therapy sessions for over 300 people. During that time, she also introduced the first clinical music therapy into India and Nepal, founding The Music Therapy Trust (India) and The Music Therapy Trust Nepal.
Margaret was awarded a Fellowship from the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA) in 2007, and in 2010 received an Honorary Doctorate from Middlesex University for her major contribution to the community in the UK, India and Nepal. In 2017 she was chosen to appear in the Independent’s Happy List, which honours inspirational people doing extraordinary things for others, and in 2018 she was honoured with a Points of Light Award from the Prime Minister. This Award recognises outstanding individual volunteers who are making a change in their community.
Margaret acted as the unpaid Director of OKMT for over 25 years, handing over the reins in December 2017 to our new Director, Clare Lawrence, and we are delighted she agreed to become a Patron of OKMT, where she continues to act as an advocate for the Trust, promoting its values, its benefits and its contribution to our local communities.
OKMT became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation in 2018 with a new charity number, but its aims and objectives remain unchanged – to reach the most vulnerable and help them to express themselves through music.
Margaret Lobo continues to support the spread of music therapy in India. She inspires everyone who meets her and hears her speak about what music therapy can achieve. We are all proud to carry on Margaret’s work – in her own words:
“SERVING OTHERS IS THE MOST PRECIOUS THING WE CAN DO”
- Dr Margaret Lobo MT FRSA
- Matthew Best
- Gwynne Howell CBE
- Charles Kraus
- Jonathan Summers OAM
- Councillor Nancy Baldwin
- Sir John Tomlinson CBE
- Sir Vincent Cable
individual and group sessions provided
Children and Young people with disabilities learning to play an instrument