Gathering, March 23-25
Gives Voice To Music Silenced By Hitler
16, 2001-- During the course of World War II, the
Nazis successfully used their control of music and the arts as a
powerful propaganda weapon against those aspects of German cultural
life they hated most. In terms of music, this eclectic blacklist
included compositions from Europes modernism movement, music
written by Jewish composers, music containing explicit sexuality,
black jazz, and any piece written in opposition to Nazi ideology.
on a combination of racial doctrine, Wagnerian anti-Semitism, and
their own belief of Aryan supremacy, the Third Reich sought to destroy
every form of music it had branded with the term Entartete Musik
(degenerate music) during the period that led to World War II. Adolf
Hitler and Joseph Goebbels worked closely to formulate a plan that
would erase this music from the face of the earth.
their efforts, a generation of musical innovation and promise was
not only abruptly curtailed in Europe, but excluded from its rightful
status in history. What should have been the dawning of a thrilling
new phase of musical evolution, instead fell silent under the dark
shadows of the swastika.
Music Suppressed by the Third Reich International Conference will
feature a gathering of international scholars and musicians
to lead seminars and give performances on the grounds of the
University of Virginia on March 23 through 25.
conference was planned by fourth-year music major Benjamin Levy,
who began researching the topic last fall while taking a class entitled
the Music of World War II with U.Va. Professor Scott DeVeaux.
After receiving two grants to organize a one-time concert of music
banned in Nazi Germany, the project slowly grew into an international
conference. Over the past 13 months, Levy raised approximately $40,000
to bring together some of the worlds most renowned Holocaust
music researchers and performers. Some of the works to be explored
during the conference were performed before World War II and then
banned by the Nazis, some were premiered behind barbed-wire fences
to audiences in concentration camps, while still others have never
before been publicly performed.
Friday, March 23, at 2 p.m., musicologists, internationally acclaimed
musicians and conductors, researchers from the U.S. Holocaust Museum,
and Jewish historians will participate in a panel discussion in
the Rotunda to investigate the Nazi impact on the development of
music in Europe and America. Speeches, archival presentations, panel
discussions, and musical performances will continue throughout the
conference speakers include:
Mark Ludwig, who received a Fulbright Fellowship to digitally
record the Terezin music archives and is director of the Terezin
Chamber Music Foundation, will give a talk focusing on music composed
and performed in the Terezin concentration camp, including the childrens
opera entitled Brundibar by Hans Krása.
Bret Werb, music researcher at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial
Museum, will lecture on his Holocaust music research.
Michael Haas, executive producer of London/Decca Records
Entartete Musik Series, will discuss the Entartete Musik
recording series that he produced.
Gottfried Wagner, great-grandson of the composer Richard
Wagner and a musicologist in Milan, Italy, will give a speech investigating
the anti-semetic influences of Wagner on Hitlers Nazi ideology
towards music in the Third Reich.
Erik Levi, University of London Royal Holloway, will give
a paper on the problems encountered by German Jewish emigrants trying
to make musical careers in the United Kingdom after 1933.
Susan Cook, University of Wisconsin-Madison, will present
her research on the banned operas of Ernst Krenek and Kurt Weill.
Jessica Wiederhorn, Shoah Foundation, will introduce Terezin
survivors who will lecture during the conference. These survivors
are among those interviewed by the Shoah Foundation for Steven Spielbergs
film documentary project.
Abraham Peck, University of Southern Maine, and Gottfried
Wagner will lecture together on the relationship between Germans
and Jews after 1945.
Martin Goldsmith, founding host and executive producer of
National Public Radio's Performance Today, will discuss his
new book about his parents entitled "The Inextinguishable Symphony:
A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany."
Gala Concert is scheduled to take place in Old Cabell Hall
Auditorium Saturday, March 24, at 8:15 p.m., and will feature the
Hawthorne String Quartet, from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and
violinist Miriam Kramer from London.
only will this be the largest conference of its kind ever held in
the United States, but it will also offer a rare opportunity to
attend live performances by the Hawthorne String Quartet, which
has recorded all of the Terezin chamber music for London/Decca Records
Entartete Musik series.
performances by others during the conference include:
The Hawthorne String Quartet will perform music written in
concentration camps such as Terezin (Theresienstadt) and Auschwitz
by composers Viktor Ullmann, Hans Krása, and Gideon Klein.
The Free Bridge Quintet, the University of Virginias
faculty jazz quintet, will perform swing music during a Friday evening
Violinist Miriam Kramer (London, England) will perform Kurt
Weills violin concerto with the U.Va. Faculty Wind Orchestra
and Maestro Michael Lewanski (Yale University).
Soprano vocalist Joy Bogen, who was Lotte Lenyas
(Kurt Weills wife) only student, will perform selections from
Kurt Weills Marie Galante Suite, which Weill
composed while fleeing the Nazis in France.
Soprano vocalists Star Trompeter and Agnes Liou
will perform selections from two operas: Ernst Kreneks Jonny
spielt auf and Erich Wolfgang Korngolds Das Wander
der Heliane. Jonny spielt auf was an opera whose importance
as a work of degenerate music stood unparalleled during the reign
of the Third Reich.
Pianist Kuang-Hao Huang will perform Vitezslava
Kapralovas Dubnova Preludia Suite for solo piano Kapralova
was a Jewish Czech composer who was killed while attempting to escape
the Nazis in France.
The U.Va. Opera Workshop Ensemble will perform the final
scene from Brundibar, the childrens
opera written by the Czech composer Hans Krása in the concentration
camp of Terezin, whose finale was filmed in the infamous Nazi propaganda
film, Der Gubrer schenkt den Juden eine Stadt.
a musical presentation at Terezin to the International Committee
of the Red Cross in June 1944, the "model ghetto was deemed
to have outlived its usefulness," and on Oct. 16, almost all
of the composers and artists in the camp were sent to the gas chambers
of Auschwitz. Composers such as Viktor Ullmann, Hans Krása,
Pavel Haas, Ervin Schulhoff and Gideon Klein were among some 35,000
artists and musicians who perished in Terezin.
conference sponsored by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, the
Shoah Foundation, the Terezin Chamber Music Foundation, the Anti-Defamation
League, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Virginia Foundation
for the Humanities, and Hillel International. Other sponsors include
the Samuel Bronfman Foundation, the Byck Foundation, the U.Va. McIntire
Department of Music, the U.Va. Judaic Studies Program, the U.Va.
History Department, the U.Va. French Department, the U.Va. College
of Arts and Sciences, the Raven Society, the Jefferson Literary
and Debating Society, the Music Department at George Washington
University, the Judaic Studies Program at George Washington University,
and the University of Richmond Music Department.
for the conference is $40 for adults and $5 for students. Meals
are available for an additional fee.
registration information is available at www.virginia.edu/music/holocaust
or call (800) 346-3882 or (804) 982-5297 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jane Ford, (804) 924-4298