Category: posts-en

“My Song for You”: Marta Eggerth and Jan Kiepura Between Two Worlds

Exhibition of the Center of the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna

Opening: October 2020

Everyone knows the dream couple of film, opera and operetta Marta Eggerth and Jan Kiepura, superstars of the mid-twentieth century. Their singing and ability to mix musical genres captivated the masses. They brought the public back to opera and operetta at a time when these were long since assumed to be in decline. Celebrity and political journalists followed their every move. One could not evade their presence and charisma. They enchanted and seduced publics on both sides of the Atlantic. Their unique timbre continues to enthrall people to the present day.

Nevertheless, both the Hungarian soprano and the Polish tenor found themselves forced to turn their back on their chosen homeland of Austria following its 1938 annexation by Nazi Germany. In February 1938 Jan Kiepura accepted an engagement at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. While performing in Paris in September 1939 (at the time of Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland and the beginning of World War II), both realized that returning to Vienna was out of the question. Yet they took the vanished world of Austria and the Viennese flair with them overseas. They shared their fate with countless musicians, performers, librettists and composers. Many colleagues would follow them into exile while others remained to face arrest, imprisonment and death, damned to oblivion by a murderous regime.

“My Song for You” is an exhibition that restores the memory of their film and stage careers as well as the opera dream couple’s artistic legacy. The presentation also reminds visitors of the fate of many of Marta Eggerth’s and Jan Kiepura’s friends, colleagues and associates who accompanied them through their careers, whose own legacies, however, were prevented from entering our collective memory by National Socialism.

The exhibition also focuses on Paul Abraham, Carl Alwin, Ralph Benatzky, Robert Gilbert, Fritz Grünbaum, Maria Jeritza, Emmerich and Charles Kálmán, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Lotte Lehmann, Fritz Löhner-Beda, Paul Morgan, Artur Rubinstein, Mischa Spoliansky, Billy Wilder and about 100 other people.

Online-Lecture with Gregorij H. von Leitis and Michael Lahr | July 6, 2020

Lew Nussimbaum, alias Essad Bey, alias Kurban Said: Border Crosser – Cosmopolitan – Jewish Muslim – Orientalist in Exile

Gregorij H. von Leitis, founding director of Elysium and winner of the New York Theater Club Prize and the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, reads from the fantastic work of Lew Nussimbaum.

Introduction: Michael Lahr, Program Director of Elysium / Director The Lahr von Leitis Academy & Archive

In his short life, the Russian Jewish writer Lew Nussimbaum (1905 – 1942) came into contact with all the movements of the early 20th century: communism, fascism and National Socialism. Having fled to Berlin from Baku, which was gripped by the October Revolution, he converted to Islam there in 1922 and changed his name to Essad Bey. He began to write, especially for The Literary World by Willy Haas. His first book Oil and Blood in the Orient immediately became a bestseller. In rapid succession he wrote 13 other books, including biographies of Mohammed, Stalin and Nicholas II. In 1936 he published the novel Ali and Nino under the pseudonym Kurban Said, a Romeo and Juliet story set at the interface between Islam and Christianity. He fled from the Nazis to Vienna, and finally after the “Anschluss” to Italy, where he died of a rare disease in Positano in 1942.

The Lahr von Leitis archive has been part of the Centre of the mdw since 2018.

Concert Series “Echo of the Unheard” – Berg, Herschkowitz and Students | January 23, 2020

Elisabeth Leonskaja und Sara Hershkowitz interpretieren Berg, Herschkowitz und Schüler Konzert „Echo des Unerhörten“ im ORF Radiokulturhaus, Großer Sendesaal

Die beiden Ausnahmekünstlerinnen Pianistin Elisabeth Leonskaja und Sängerin Sara Hershkowitz gestalten ein Programm mit Werken des Alban Berg-Schülers Philip Herschkowitz und zweier sehr unterschiedlichen SchülerInnen aus der ehemaligen Sowietunion.

Elisabeth Leonskaja © Julia Wesely

Der in Rumänien 1906 geborene Herschkowitz war zuerst Student bei Joseph Marx an der Wiener Musikakademie (heute Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien), bevor er Schüler von Alban Berg und Anton Webern wurde. 1939 wurde er vom NS-Regime zur Flucht nach Jugoslawien gezwungen. Nach einem mehrjährigen Exil in Taschkent beabsichtigte er nach Wien zurückzukehren, was aber aufgrund der politischen Lage in der Sowietunion misslang. Daher ließ er sich 1946 in Moskau nieder, wo er Privatunterricht gab. Seine Kompositionstechnik war als „formalistisch“ verpönt, gleichzeitig stand er unter antisemitischer Bedrohung durch die Machthaber. 1949 wurde er aus dem Komponistenverband eliminiert. Herschkowitz war zeit seines Lebens ein einflussreicher Lehrer und unterrichtete unter anderem Edison Denisov, Elena Firsova, Alfred Schnittke, Sofia Gubaidulina, Boris Tischenko und beeinflußte auch die Musikologen Mikhail Druskin, Natan Fishman und Yuri Kholopov.

Auch die junge Pianistin Elisabeth Leonskaja zählte zu seinen SchülerInnen.

Im Gespräch mit Irene Suchy werden die beiden Künstlerinnen über ihren persönlichen Zugang zu Philip Herschkowitz sprechen und seine Werke interpretieren.

Sara Hershkowitz © Thomas Jahn

Elisabeth Leonskaja, Klavier
Sara Hershkowitz, Sopran
Ulrike Anton, Flöte
Moderation: Dr. Irene Suchy


Alban Berg: Sonata für Klavier, op.1
Alban Berg: Frühe Lieder
Philip Herschkowitz: Miniaturen für Klavier
Philip Herschkowitz: Lieder nach Gedichten Paul Celans
Edison Denisov: Vier Gedichte von Gérard de Nerval für Sopran, Flöte und Klavier
Elena Firsova: Zwei Inventionen für Flöte solo

Donnerstag | 23 01 2020 | 19:30 Uhr Konzert „Echo des Unerhörten“
ORF Radiokulturhaus, Großer Sendesaal
Argentinierstraße 30a, 1040 Wien

Tickets ab sofort hier erhältlich.
Eintritt: EUR 27,–
ORF RadioKulturhaus-Karte 50%, Ö1 Club 10%

Expelled, persecuted, banned – European music and the consequences of National Socialism, current seminar at the mdw

The Association of Jewish Regufees | Sarah Lawrence College Archives

© The Association of Jewish Regufees | Sarah Lawrence College Archives

A seminar of the Exilarte Center offered for all fields of study as optional subject ( Spring and Fall semester)

Lecturers: a.o. Univ.-Prof. DDr. h.c. Gerold Gruber, Dr. Ulrike Anton, Dr. Michael Haas


  • show the plurality of music that was prevented and destroyed by the Nazi seizure of power
  • describe the interaction between culture and politics
  • rediscover the repertoire lost by the National Socialists
  • analysis to concentration camp – emigration – exile – post-war period


  • Students should be given a comprehensive knowledge of the complexity of music creation
  • Dealing with mostly forgotten composers and their works
  • Analysis of musical trends and different styles
  • Effects of politics, religion and the social environment on cultural creation
  • Students should discover new repertoire for themselves


  • Getting to know unknown repertoire
  • Awareness of cultural responsibility
  • Influence of migration on the exile countries
  • Analysis from today’s point of view
  • Scientific and artistic interpretation in accordance
  • Analysis of different styles
  • Adaptation to the respective field of study


BR radio show: Hans Winterberg – In search of a forgotten composer | October 11, 2019

Gerold Gruber, Ulrike Anton and Michael Haas are guests of Andreas Pehl from the Bayerischer Rundfunk and talk about the extraordinary life cycle and the works of the composer Hans Winterberg, persecuted by the National Socialists.

Bavarian Radio Classical, Friday, October 11, 2019, 19:05 – 20 clock A replay of the program will take place on Saturday, October 12 at 2:05 pm.

The program can be heard via the live stream of Bayerischer Rundfunk and is also available via the media library or podcast service of the BR.

ORF – Long Night of Museums | October 5, 2019

On Saturday, October 5, 2019, this year’s “ORF Long Night of Museums” took place throughout Austria for the 20th time.
The center of mdw was pleased to be part of it for the first time this year and offered guided tours of the current exhibition as well as special program items.

SPECIAL EVENTS throughout the ORF Long Night of Museums

1) Concert: Echo of the Unheard (6:30 pm)

Hans Gál (1890 – 1987)
– Concertino für Flöte und Streichquartett, op. 82
Julius Bürger (1897 – 1995) – Streichquartett Nr. 2
Hans Winterberg (1901 – 1991) – Streichquartett 1957/1970

WISE –   Wien International Soloists Ensemble will bring works of these forgotten composers back to life.

Andrea Nikolić, violin
Jonathan Cano, violin
Marta Potulska, viola
Anzél Gerber, violoncello

Ulrike Anton, flute

2) Actor’s reading: Letters & manuscripts from Erwin Piscator (8:30 pm)

Read and interpreted by Tamara Stern and Hubert Wolf
Text selection: Susanne Abbrederis

3) Concert: From the Lower East to the Upper West Side (10:30 pm)

Music from the Jewish Theatres and Viennese Cafés in New York in the 1930s and 1940s. Esther Wratschko and her ensemble (Andrew Gorman & Lili Weihandl) will perform songs by Leopoldi, Berg and others


Alexander Olshanetsky: Ikh hob dikh tsufil lib
Abraham Ellstein: Abi gezunt
Shalom Secunda: Bay mir bistu sheyn
Jimmy Berg: Man stellt sich um!
Hermann Leopoldi: Ja da wär´s halt gut, wenn man Englisch könnt
Jimmy Berg: Small Café near Central Park West

Symposium „Jewish Music in South Germany – History, Exile, Continuance“ in Munich | July 11 – 12, 2019

The international Symposium „Jewish Music in South Germany – History, Exile, Continuance“ initiated by Tina Frühauf, took place at Munich’s University for Music and Performing Arts on July 11th and 12th 2019. It presented a wide spectrum of creativity current in Southern Germany prior to 1933, and included papers on both secular and liturgical works. was represented by DDr. Prof. Gerold Gruber and Dr. Ulrike Anton both giving their papers on life and work of Hans Winterberg and Dr. Michael Haas, who spoke on the Kulturbund and New Zealand exile-composer Robert Fuchs. Documentation on Hans Winterberg as well as the estate of Robert Fuchs make up part of the archive of the Center.  

Forbidden Music – “Jewish Destiny” and the defiance of Richard Fuchs

Senior Researcher Michael Haas has release a new article on his blog „Forbidden Music“ about Richard Fuchs: „Jewish Destiny“ and the defiance of Richard Fuchs.
Read the full article here.

Fuchs studied architecture and music in Karlsruhe. After his doctorate, he worked and gained considerable recognition as an architect after the First World War. 1935 he was forbidden to carry on working as an architect and began his new career as composer with the Jewish Cultural League. The synagogues he designed and built were burnt down during the Kristallnacht pogroms in November 1938. He fled Germany to New Zealand via England. His abiding aspiration was establishing a synthesis between Jewish and German music.

Film Screening “WALTER ARLEN’S FIRST CENTURY” at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York | June 12, 2019

WALTER ARLEN’S FIRST CENTURY, a documentary by Vienna-based filmmaker Stephanus Domanig, paints an affectionate and multifaceted picture of a musician exiled in 1938, who only got to see his works performed late in life.

The film accompanies Walter Arlen for a part of his journey. With ease it paints the portrait of a remarkable man, a man who went through years of darkness but never lost sight of the “blue light of the last streetcar”.

Following the 90-minute screening of the film, there was a Q&A with’s founding Director Gerold Gruber and filmmaker Stephanus Domanig.
Jeannie Im (soprano) and Dan Franklin Smith (piano) presented examples of Arlen’s musical oeuvre including “Five Songs of Love and Yearning.”

Please read the articles on this wonderful evening on Broadway World and Musical America.

Political Theater in Exile

The Center expanded on 21.05.2019 its exhibition “When I compose, I’m back in Vienna” with a portrayal of the life and work of Erwin Piscator and Maria Ley Piscator under the title “Political Theater in Exile”.
This expansion is part of The Lahr of Leitis Academy & Archive, which was recently acquired by the center.

The exhibition shows Piscator’s significant influence on the development of the theater on both sides of the Atlantic. Piscator firmly believed that “art only serves its purpose if it contributes to human improvement.”

The exhibtion is open daily (Tuesday – Saturday from 3 pm to 7pm)