Category: Seminars & Workshops

Seminars & Workshops

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.

“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.

International Symposium “Music and Exile in a Global Perspective” | May 30, 2023; Reykjavik, Iceland

A symposium on “Music and Exile in a Global Perspective” took place on Tuesday, May 30, 2023 in Reykjavík, Iceland.

The symposium is part of the three-year research project “Musicians in Exile from Nazi Germany and Austria and their Role in the Development of Musical Life in Iceland, 1935-1974”. Gerold Gruber and Josipa Bainac Hausknecht gave the lecture “Art Creates Awareness: Estates of the Exilarte Center Vienna”.

© Exilarte, Josipa Hausknecht

In Reykjavik, Gerold Gruber visited the family of the Icelandic exile composer Victor Urbancic, who was born in Vienna in 1903. He studied composition, conducting and musicology at the Academy for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna (today’s mdw). Already during his studies he worked as a conductor for incidental music at the Theater in der Josefstadt. From 1926 to 1933 he worked as a solo répétiteur, operetta conductor and finally opera conductor at the Stadttheater Mainz. When Hitler came to power in 1933, Urbancic was already with Dr. Married Melitta Grunbaum. The family moved back to Austria. From 1934 Urbancic continued his teaching activities at the conservatory of the Musikverein für Steiermark in Graz. Just six months later he was appointed deputy director of the conservatory and quickly assumed an important position in Graz concert life. Around 1936, the Graz Conservatory in particular became a nucleus of the National Socialists’ “new ethnic music education”. After Hitler’s troops invaded Austria, the family was forced to flee. This is how Urbancic ended up in Iceland, where he was considered one of the pioneers of modern musical life.

Most of Victor Urbancic’s estate is located in Reykjavik. Sibyl Urbancic (the daughter of Victor Urbancic) will hand over her father’s estate, which is still in her Viennese apartment, to the Exilarte Zentrum.

Symposium: Exile, Modernism, and Hollywood at the Exilarte Center | June 11 & 12, 2022

The Exilarte Center of the mdw will host and organize a symposium on the subject of Exile, Modernism and Hollywood on June 11 & 12, 2022 at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna/Austria.


This symposium seeks to find the seeds to musical Modernism in the cinema of the 1930s and 1940s and evaluate its ultimate influence in film and absolute music. Hollywood became home for a vast diaspora of composers with the advent of sound cinema in the late 1920s. With the rise of Nazism and Bolshevism in Europe, the diaspora widened considerably, primarily by Austro-German exiles. Composers Hanns Eisler and Karol Rathaus had already rejected the late-Romanticism of Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold, while other composers such as Ernst Toch, Hans Salter and Franz Waxman (Wachsmann) had taken the Romanticism template and modified it towards contemporary sound design.  

A common experience that greatly shaped the careers of these composers was exile, which scholars have long recognized as a dialectic. It can lead to shattering experiences regarding identity, yet it can also open up new opportunities for expression and communication. In exploring connections between exile composers, Modernism, and Hollywood from the 1930s through the 1940s, this symposium examines what is surely one of the greatest cultural transfers in modern history, when European-trained composers who engaged with modernist ideas often struggled between the desire to achieve success in Hollywood while still being true to their art. Modernism in this symposium consists of a plurality of styles that Hollywood attracted, including but not limited to dodecaphony and atonality. 

With the goal of examining the influence of Hollywood more broadly, we also welcome proposals about exile composers who benefited from the Hollywood film industry in other ways but did not necessarily write for film. This group would include such figures as Arnold Schoenberg, Igor Stravinsky, and Ernst Krenek, such as through commissions of works, teaching men and women in Hollywood, and developing social networks with members of the entertainment industry.

Date of symposium: June 11 & 12, 2022

For the program, please click here.

Language: English

Location: Franz Liszt Hall of the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Lothringerstraße 18, 1030 Vienna

Organized by: Exilarte Center of the mdw

Organizing committee: Gerold Gruber, Michael Haas, Kenneth Marcus, Christian Glanz, Julia Heimerdinger

Masterclass with Ulrike Anton at the Verfemte Musik Festival in Schwerin, Germany | October 7 – 10, 2021

IntInternationale Masterclasses, Symposium and Concert

From October 7 – 10,  2021 the Exilarte Cetner is again invited to the Verfemte Musik Festival in Schwerin/Germany

Flutist and musicologist Dr. Ulrike Anton will hold masterclasses for flute and wind chamber music from October 7 – 10, 2021.  Registration is open until September 19, 2021.

Online-Registration Masterclass

Exile Music Workshop with Prof. Dr. Gerold Gruber und Dr. Ulrike Anton I August 19 & 20, 2021

The Exilarte Center is invited to the International Summer Academy of the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, held in the Rax and Semmering region, Austria

In this two-part workshop, Gerold Gruber and Ulrike Anton introduce the participants of the International Summer Academy to the subject of exile music and will work with individual soloists and ensembles on this particular repertoire.

August 19 & 20, 2021
Literatursalon Schloss Wartholz
Hauptstraße 113
A-2651 Reichenau an der Rax, Austria

For further information about the workshop please click here.

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