25 Apr 2018

Alex Calder

From Anzac Day, 10:32 am on 25 April 2018

Alex Calder, an associate professor of English at the University of Auckland, edited for re-publication the classic 1963 memoir by Alexander Aitken,Gallipoli to the Somme: Recollections of a New Zealand Infantryman (AUP, 2018). Aitken was Dunedin mathematics student when he enlisted in 1915; his skill at mental arithmetic saved his life at the Somme. Throughout his service overseas he smuggled a violin in his kitbag, performing at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. After the war, he became internationally renowned as a mathematics genius. Short documentaries about Aitken and many others can be viewed at the NZ History website. In 2016 RNZ Concert recorded the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra performing Gallipoli to the Somme, Anthony Ritchie's oratorio in tribute to Aitken.

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