Pomerance Prize

The Pomerance Prize is awarded annually to students who make an exceptional contribution to the musical life of the University.

Nominations are made to the Pomerance family each spring by the Honorary Director of Student Music. The Alfred Pomerance Prize in Music was endowed in his memory in 1967 by his widow, Lena. The prize recognises talent, interest or skill in the performance of music in the widest sense, to keep the name of Pomerance alive in Leicester.
Alfred Pomeranz was born in Leicester in 1915, the youngest child of Jacob (Jack) and Annie Pomeranz.

Jacob Pomeranz was born in Baryslav (then in what was the country of Galicia but which is now the town of Lvov in Ukraine) and came to England aged 14. The story goes that he, his parents and a younger brother took a boat to the USA, but Jacob took one look at Manhattan, stayed on the boat and came on to England, where he had been given contacts in the East End of London, Leeds and Birmingham. His contacts in the East End led to his marriage with Annie (born Rumishkowski but later changed to Goldberg) and they eventually settled in Leicester. The Pomeranz name was ‘anglicised’ to Pomerance in 1926. Jack established and ran a hosiery warehouse at 15 King Street. Annie, who had a beautiful singing voice, ran a stall in Leicester Market for some years, before opening a successful fur shop (Pomerance Furs) in Belvoir Street. They were well known pillars of the tight-knit Jewish community in the city.

Jack and Annie had three children, Ben, Maidie and Alfred. All three were educated in Leicester – the boys at the Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys and Maidie at the Collegiate School for Girls.

Ben, who moved to Sheffield after his marriage to Fay Levi, a well-known Anglo-Jewish artist, originally intended to go into Law, but ultimately made a successful career in the retail furniture industry.

Maidie, who should have been registered as Madeleine, but whose father spoke such broken English at the time of her birth was understood to have said Minnie became a very well-known paediatrician in Dagenham, and married Benji Weizmann.

From an early age, Alfred showed an extraordinary aptitude for the piano, there was not enough money in the family to enable him to train for a career as a soloist (although he almost certainly had the talent to succeed had there been funds). He therefore joined his father in the hosiery warehouse (J Pomerance & Son Ltd.) and worked there until his early death at the age of 49 in 1964.