Author: Madeleine Fremuth

The Publication about the work and life of the Jewish composer “Julius Bürger – Composer-Conductor – Vocal Coach”

The publication about the work and life of the Jewish composer “Julius Bürger – Composer – Conductor – Vocal Coach” has now been published by Böhlau Verlag!

Author: Ryan Hugh Ross
Editor: Gerold Gruber
Publisher: Böhlau Verlag Vienna
110 pp. / Language: English
Böhlau Verlag Vienna, 1st edition 2024

“JULIUS BÜRGER Composer – Conductor – Vocal Coach”

Bürger studied with Franz Schreker in Vienna and Berlin. On Bruno Walter’s recommendation, Bürger later moved to the Metropolitan Opera in New York as an assistant to Artur Bodanzky. In 1929 he became Otto Klemperer’s assistant at the Berlin Kroll Opera and returned to Vienna after Hitler’s appointment as chancellor in 1933. En route from London to Vienna in 1938, Bürger and his wife foresaw what was to come in Austria and left their luggage in Paris. In 1939 Bürger moved to America, where he worked again at the Metropolitan Opera in 1949 and began a close friendship with Dimitri Mitropoulos. His mother was shot on the way to Auschwitz, and five of his brothers were murdered in the concentration camp.

Julius Bürger’s life and work would be impossible without the care and commitment of his friend, attorney Ronald S. Pohl, Esq. lost to history. Through Pohl’s efforts, much of Bürger’s music was premiered in numerous concert performances in the early 1990s. Selected orchestral works by the composer were also recorded for commercial release, contributing to the composer’s rediscovery. After Bürger’s death in 1995, Pohl continued the preservation and promotion of the unpublished compositions until he placed the estate on permanent loan in the Exilarte Center of the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, in the same building where Bürger began his studies.

The estate includes Bürger’s compositions in the form of autograph manuscripts as well as a large collection of personal documents and papers, recordings, newspaper articles and photographs.

The publication was published in English by Böhlau Verlag.

NASOM “Echoes of Vienna”I Exilarte in cooperation with Elisabeth Plank I Hans Gál & Arnold Schönberg

© Julia Wesely

NASOM New Austrian Sound of Music 2023/24 Artist: Harpist Elisabeth Plank presents the music from her hometown Vienna in March and April 2024 in the USA, including estates from the mdw’s Exilarte Center. The program takes you into impressive and at the same time delicate soundscapes, which are characterized by original compositions and arrangements by renowned composers such as Arnold Schönberg, Hans Gál and many others.


March 19, 2024 at 7:00 p.m., Austrian Cultural Forum, Washington D.C.

March 23, 2024 at 2:30 p.m., University of North Texas / Voertman Hall, Denton (TX)

March 24, 2024 at 6:00 p.m., American Harp Society Houston / Archway Gallery,Houston (TX)

March 29, 2024 at 8:30 p.m., Jacobs School of Music, Bloomington (IN)

March 30, 2024 at 7:00 p.m., University of Northern Kentucky / Greaves Concert Hall, Highland Heights (KY)

April 4, 2024 at 4:30 p.m., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign / Smith Hall, Urbana (IL)

April 6, 2024 at 1:00 p.m., Lyon & Healy Hall, Chicago (IL)

April 7, 2024 at 4:00 p.m., American Harp Society Philadelphia / Temple Lutheran Church (501 Brookline Blvd, Havertown, PA 19083), Philadelphia (PA)

April 9, 2024 at 7:00 p.m., Austrian Cultural Forum NYC, NYC


“Nostalgia”I Exilarte in cooperation with Amadeus Festival Vienna I June 29, 2024 I Hans Gál

© Amadeus Festival Vienna 2024

Saturday, June 29, 2024, 5 p.m.
Festival Bühne
Bastiengasse 36-38
1180 Vienna

Tickets order here.


Nadia Kalmykova, violin

Liuba Kalmykova, violin

Kasumi Yui, piano


M. Moszkovsky: Suite for 2 violins and piano op. 71 (20’)

H. Gál: Sonata for 2 violins and piano op. 96 (22’)

D. Shostakovich: 5 pieces for 2 violins and piano (10’)

P. De Sarasate: Navarra op. 33 (6′)

“Dance Poems”I Exilarte in cooperation with Orchestra Divertimento Viennese I Concert & Lecture I June 23, 2024

© Louise Zemlinsky, Alexander Zemlinsky Fonds

Gerold Gruber reports on the composers Alexander Zemlinsky and Reynaldo Hahn.

Sunday, June 23, 2024;
11:00 a.m.
Great Hall, Brucknerhaus
Untere Donaulände 7
A-4010 Linz

Tickets here.

There will be a concert introduction for concert goers at 10:00 a.m. (with free admission).


Gerold W. Gruber
Marie-Theres Arnbom


Paul Dukas (1865-1935) – La Péri. Poème dansé for orchestra (1909–10)

Reynaldo Hahn (1874–1947) – Concerto in E major for piano and orchestra (1930)

Alexander von Zemlinsky (1871–1942) – A dance poem. Ballet in one act (1901, 1904)


Shani Diluka, piano

Orchestra Divertimento Viennese

Brass Band Upper Austria, stage music

Vinzenz Praxmarer, conductor

About the program:

The Linz conductor Vinzenz Praxmarer and his orchestra Divertimento Viennese present sound-drunk dance poems from Vienna and Paris at the turn of the century. While Alexander von Zemlinsky’s Ein Tanzpoem, the revised Act II of an unfinished setting of the ballet The Triumph of Time by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, only had its premiere 50 years after the composer’s death, Paul Dukas was able to perform what he himself described as Poème dansé Ballet La Péri celebrated a great success at its premiere in 1912. In between, a real gem will be heard, with the world-famous pianist Shani Diluka as soloist: the fascinating piano concerto by Reynaldo Hahn, the middle movement of which is entitled “Danse”.

Link to program here.

Concert Series “Echo of the Unheard” I June 18, 2024 I Arnold Schönberg and Wolfgang Fraenkel


© The Ciompi Quartet

Concert series “Echo of the Unheard” | June 18, 2024 I Arnold Schönberg and Wolfgang Fraenkel

Arnold Schönberg and Wolfgang Fraenkel are historically linked: two progressive Jewish composers who fled Europe with the rise of the Nazis. Schönberg came to the United States while the younger Fraenkel spent eight years in Shanghai, where he was an important teacher and cultural force. This concert compares these two strong personalities through two of their string quartets. Fraenkel’s quartet contains a dedication to the much admired Schönberg.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024, 7 p.m.
Palais Ehrbar – small Ehrbar Saal
Mühlgasse 28
1040 Vienna

Admission free! /


Ciompi Quartet

Eric Pritchard, violin | Hsiao-mei Ku, violin | Jonathan Bagg, viola | Caroline Stinson, cello


Arnold Schönberg: String Quartet No. 4 op 37

Wolfgang Fraenkel: Music for String Quartet (1949)


Ulrike Anton (Director of the Arnold Schönberg Center Vienna) | Gerold Gruber (founder of and head of the Exilarte Center)

Academic Day at the Forsaken Music Festival in Schwerin, Germany I November 10, 2023

This year’s 6th International Music Symposium as part of the Forsaken Music Festival in Schwerin, Germany, was dedicated to film music, under the title:

“Music is music. Whether it’s for the stage, the conductor’s stand or for the cinema.”

(Erich Wolfgang Korngold, 1946)

In the 1930s, numerous composers emigrated from Europe to the west coast of the USA, where they found a new field of activity in Hollywood: film music. Among the composers who would shape this genre for the coming decades are, among others: Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Franz Waxman, Max Steiner, Hanns Eisler, Ernst Toch and Alexandre Tansman should be mentioned. Although many of the composers were very successful in Hollywood, their film music received little attention in Europe – or it was degraded as a commercial product of a ‘culture industry’.

Gerold Gruber gave the lecture:

Ernst Toch – the “most forgotten” composer of the 20th century

The Vienna-born composer Ernst Toch (1887-1964) was an important representative of New Objectivity in the 1920s. When the National Socialists came to power in 1933, he left Berlin and tried to earn a living in Paris and London, but ultimately emigrated to Hollywood via New York in order to survive as a film composer. George Gershwin invited him to a film project, but it was not realized. He scored 11 films for Paramount and earned Oscar nominations for “Ladies in Retirement” (1941) and “Address Unknown” (1944). Like Korngold, he tried to regain a foothold in Europe after the Second World War, but failed for similar reasons. He cynically said that he was the “most forgotten” composer of the 20th century.

Courage – Music in Resistance Against National Socialism I June 3, 2024

© The Herbert and Trudl Zipper Archives Collection , Colburn School (LA, USA)

Courage – Music in Resistance Against National Socialism I June 3rd, 2024

The Exilarte Center makes what has been silenced resonate again and makes what has been forgotten visible again.

During the dark times of National Socialism, using music to send a sign of resistance was for many Jewish composers the only way to accuse, rebel or find hope again in desperate situations. Many of them were persecuted, murdered or forced into exile. But their works, which were sometimes created under the most adverse circumstances, still bear witness to unparalleled courage and remind us of the power that music radiates. Music helped to survive and endure what was immediately happening. But the sounds created also made it possible to denounce the injustice of the perpetrators with hidden musical messages. Viktor Ullmann composed his Emperor of Atlantis in the Theresienstadt ghetto, mercilessly holding up a mirror to the terror regime before he was murdered in Auschwitz; Herbert Zipper secretly wrote a resistance song in the Dachau concentration camp and Hans Gál ironically presented the morning wake-up call in the internment camp in Great Britain as a refugee in his Huyton Suite. Some of the still undiscovered works from this program are in the archives of the Exilarte Center of the mdw.

Monday, June 3, 2024 at 8 p.m.

Musikverein Wien

Glass Hall / Magna Auditorium
Musikvereinsplatz 1,
Bösendorferstrasse 12,
A-1010 Vienna


Adrian Eröd, baritone
Raimund Lissy, violin

Clemens Flieder, violin
Ulrike Anton, flute
Armin Egger, guitar
David Hausknecht, piano
Gerold Gruber, lecture


Das Kaddisch


Theresienstadt Suite

from: Vom Jüdischen Schicksal 
Stimme der Vorzeit

Der Kaiser von Atlantis – Auszüge

A Song in Exile

Huyton Suite

Great Times

“Arnold Schoenberg´s 150th Celebration” I International Conference I November 3-5, 2023 I Shenzhen, China

From November 3 to 5, 2023, an international conference in honor of Arnold Schoenberg’s 150th birthday will take place at the School of Music, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen.

Gerold Gruber will be presenting a lecture titled “The Life and Work of Wolfgang Fraenkel and Julius Schloss – Composers in Shanghai Exile.”

Schoenberg’s ideas and music had a profound influence on contemporary musicians, composers, philosophers, and painters. He taught composition in Vienna, Berlin, and Los Angeles. Wolfgang Fraenkel and Julius Schloss were two German composers who, due to their Jewish heritage, were deported to Nazi concentration camps but eventually found refuge in Shanghai. Fraenkel was a follower of Schoenberg in Berlin, and Schloss had the opportunity to study with Alban Berg in Vienna before leaving Europe. Both became composition teachers in Shanghai and created twelve-tone compositions incorporating  Chinese music and texts. This lecture offers insights into their compositional work.

Book Presentation ” Music of Exile”

We are pleased to announce the book presentation of “Music of Exile – The Untold Story of Composers Who Fled Hitler” (Yale University Press, 2023) by the renowned author and researcher of “exiled music” Dr. Benjamin Michael Haas.The presentation will take place on 27 September at London’s Reform Club.
Wednesday, 27 September 2023, 6 pm
104 Pall Mall
St. James’s
London SW1Y 5EW
Free Admission!


Benjamin Michael Haas


Benjamin Michael Haas and James Jolly

About the Book:

What happens to a composer when persecution and exile means their true music no longer has an audience?
In the 1930s, composers and musicians began to flee Hitler’s Germany to make new lives across the globe. The process of exile was complex: although some of their works were celebrated, these composers had lost their familiar cultures and were forced to navigate xenophobia as well as entirely different creative terrain. Others, far less fortunate, were in a kind of internal exile—composing under a ruthless dictatorship or in concentration camps and ghettos.

Michael Haas sensitively records the experiences of this musical diaspora. Torn between cultures and traditions, these composers produced music that synthesized old and new worlds, some becoming core portions of today’s repertoire, some relegated to the desk drawer. Encompassing the musicians interned as enemy aliens in the United Kingdom, the brilliant Hollywood compositions of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and the Brecht-inspired theater music of Kurt Weill, Haas shows how these musicians shaped the twentieth-century soundscape—and offers a moving record of the incalculable effects of war on culture.
About Autor:
Benjamin Michael Haas, PhD was for many years a recording producer with Decca and Sony. 1994/5 he was appointed Vice President of Sony Classical in NY. He has won a number of Grammys, initiated and led Decca’s recording series “Entartete Musik”. From 2002 – 2010, he worked as Music Curator at Vienna’s Jewish Museum. From 2000 – 2015 he was director at London University’s Jewish Music Institute and in 2015/16, he was a Research Associate at the University College London’s School of Jewish and Hebrew Studies. Since 2016 he has acted as Senior Researcher at mdw’s Exilarte Center, which he co-founded.

Legacies of the Exilarte Center of the mdw at the Long Night of Research I Lecture, Documentary, Exhibition I May 24, 2024

© New York Times / Redux

The Exilarte Center will present the documentary about Julius Bürger and the current Exilarte exhibition at the Long Night of Research on May 24, 2024.

Lecture & Documentation: Julius Bürger – expelled and rediscovered. A Viennese composer returns.

campus of the mdw
University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna
Anton-von-Webern-Platz 1,
1030 Vienna

The documentation provides insight into the life and work of the Jewish Viennese composer Julius Bürger, who had to leave Austria in 1938. He was able to gain international success in the USA, where in 1984, 39 years after its creation, he received the composition prize from the University of Indiana for his “Variations on a Theme by C. Ph. E. Bach”.

The film documentation was created in connection with the first performance of Julius Bürger’s orchestral works in Vienna, in August 2023 in the ORF’s large broadcasting hall with the RSO under the direction of Gottfried Rabl.


5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.,
Exilarte Center
Lothringerstraße 18 / 1st floor,
1030 Vienna

At 5 p.m. guided tour of the exhibition

Admission free!