“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 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.
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.
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 UK
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.
The catalogue to the exhibition: Fritz Kreisler – a cosmopolitan in exile. From child prodigy to ” King of Violonists”
The exhibition at the mdw’s Exilarte Center shows the different stages of life of one of the greatest violin virtuosos of the 20th century, whose success story started in Vienna and ended in New York. Fritz Kreisler was cosmopolitan on the one hand and affected by the fate of exiles on the other.
On the occasion of the 10th International Fritz Kreisler Violin Competition, which has been held at the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna since 1979, the new exhibition of the Exilarte Center of the mdw was developed – to present the life and importance of Fritz Kreisler to the public.
After the Nazis had banned all of his performances and recordings due to his Jewish origins, he emigrated to the USA in September 1939 and became an American citizen in 1943. In addition to his spectacular successes from childhood to the end of his career, the exhibition sheds light on him as a Jew and exile. The exhibition also shows Kreisler’s philanthropic and charitable activities. Material newly discovered in the course of the research complements the difficult research situation.
Ulrike Anton Amy Biancolli Albrecht Dümling Gerold Gruber Michael Haas Nobuko Nakamura Matthias Schmidt Eric Wen
Prof. Dr. Gerold Gruber (Chairman of the Exilarte Center)
Triangel of Viennese Tradition Zemlinsky – Schönberg – Hoffmann
Inspired by Arnold Schönberg’s 150th birthday, celebrated around the world, the new exhibition at the mdw’s Exilarte Center sheds light on the social and cultural environment of the founder of the Second Viennese School. In particular, attention is paid to Alexander von Zemlinsky, who taught Schönberg and introduced him to the Viennese music circles, and to Richard Hoffmann, who was a pupil of Schönberg and later became his assistant.
These three personalities, their professional, friendly and musical connections as well as their fates during the time of the Nazi regime are brought closer using life documents, photos and music manuscripts.
Countless other free spirits of the early 20th century from music, literature, fine arts and architecture as well as wealthy art lovers and patrons met for artistic exchange and lavish festivals in the artists’ colony planned by Josef Hoffmann in what was already the posh 19th district of Vienna. Most of them had Jewish roots and were persecuted by the Nazis. Many were able to emigrate, many died in the concentration camps.
Dazzling personalities such as Alma Mahler-Werfel, Gustav Mahler, Carl Moll, Koloman Moser, Hugo Henneberg, Sigmund Freud, Egon and Emmy Wellesz, Emil and Yella Hertzka, Richard Gerstl, Adolf Loos and Arnold Schönberg inspired one another in this Art Nouveau villa colony, which will be recreated as a model for the exhibition.
Arnold Schönberg was one of the first to emigrate in 1933, Richard Hoffmann in 1935 and Alexander Zemlinksy after the “Anschluss” in 1938… How much does the forced exile change a person, an artist in his work? In the exhibition we take a look at the respective oeuvre before and after fleeing into an uncertain future.
The score for one of Arnold Schönberg’s best-known works, A Survivor from Warsaw, written in the USA in 1947, is contextualised in the exhibition. Alexander Zemlinsky, who had previously written large symphonic works, has almost fallen silent as a result of the persecution: on display are the two song collections that he created in New York from 1938 (op. 27) and 1940 (without op.).
The question of what life in Europe would have been like for millions of people affected without Hitler’s National Socialist racial doctrine can no longer be answered and the loss of artistic potential in Europe as a result cannot be measured. We show the arbitrary bureaucracy with which Jews and people critical of the system were harassed. Documents such as Zemlinsky’s Reich Flight Tax Notice and Alien Registration Receipt Card with fingerprint can be seen in the original.
Zemlinsky and Schönberg managed to escape to the USA by transatlantic steamship, Richard Hoffmann emigrated to New Zealand. Other flight fates, paths to places of exile for women, men and children are reconstructed in the exhibition.
Many composers and musicians from the society around Zemlinsky, Schönberg and Hoffmann did not succeed in finding freedom. They lived underground (e.g. Josef Polnauer, Olga Novakovic and others) or were murdered by the Nazis (e.g. Schönberg’s family members or Schönberg’s friend and publisher Henri Hinrichsen).
“Triangle of the Viennese Tradition” is the title of the connection between three musicians who shared a similar fate as composers, educators and friends: they were of Jewish origin and therefore outcasts and exiles.
Piano trios are an important part of the compositional work of André Singer and Hans Winterberg. The planned concert evening will feature the two still largely unknown but musically fascinating trios, interpreted by pianist David Hausknecht, violinist Floris Willem and cellist Cristina Basili.
Tuesday, December 12, 2023, 7 p.m. Palais Ehrbar – small Ehrbar Saal Mühlgasse 28 1040 Vienna
Jonathan Powell places Winterberg in the context of Czech piano music and builds a bridge between Czech and Viennese traditions of the 1920s and 30s. The highlight of the recital is the premiere of Winterberg’s 4th piano sonata. Afterwards, an international panel discussion will examine Winterberg’s biography, work and the rediscovery of his legacy against the background of the historical developments of the 20th century.
Petr Brod (journalist, Prague) Gerold Gruber (Exilarte Center, Vienna) Frank Harders-Wuthenow (Boosey & Hawkes, Berlin) Lubomir Spurný (Masaryk University, Brno)
The composer and pianist Hans (Hanuš) Winterberg, born in Prague in 1901, found his final resting place in Bad Tölz in 1991. Winterberg, a student of Alexander von Zemlinsky, was part of Czechoslovakia’s musical elite in the 1930s and was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp on January 26, 1945 because of his Jewish descent. Winterberg’s fascinating oeuvre has only recently been rediscovered and published in a collaboration between the Exilarte Center of the mdw and the publishing house Boosey & Hawkes.
The internationally renowned English pianist Jonathan Powell plays a pioneering role in this Winterberg renaissance. The winner of the German Record Critics’ Prize in 2021 places Winterberg in the context of Czech piano music and builds a bridge between Czech and contemporary Viennese traditions. A highlight of the recital is the premiere of Winterberg’s 4th piano sonata.
Afterwards, a discussion will examine Winterberg’s biography, work and rediscovery of his legacy against the background of the historical developments of the 20th century.
Event in cooperation with the Bad Tölz Singing and Music School, Peter Puskas, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Czech Center Munich, Cultural Department for the Bohemian Countries in the Adalbert Stifter Association