Today, the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company announced a new series by Likht Ensemble who will present five installments of rarely performed music by Jewish artists composed during the Holocaust entitled The Shoah Songbook. These performances will launch with Part One: Terezín.
The series is designed to shine a spotlight on great composers silenced before their time, ranging from the subtle poetry and haunting lullabies of Ilse Weber, to the stylistically advanced works of Viktor Ullmann, to the never-before-recorded songs of Edwin Geist. This astonishing wealth of music was created from within concentration camps, with the first recital focusing on music from the Bohemian camp Terezín.
Researching Terezín, a “model” concentration camp that held many prominent artists, they discovered a treasure trove of music by its resident composers who were later deported to Auschwitz and other camps to be killed. Though prior to World War II many of these composers were widely celebrated in Europe, their legacies were suppressed by the Nazi regime, and some of their pieces have never been published or recorded. With deep veins of both hope and despair, this music has the power to reframe and humanize the classical tradition to which it belongs.
“As Jewish musicians confronted with the canonical works of blatantly anti-Semitic composers, we often feel the weight of wondering whether performing their works legitimizes their prejudice. Our discovery of Jewish music from the Holocaust has given us a point of identification that allows us to confront our precarious position within this tradition, and ultimately reembrace it on our own terms,” shared Nate Ben-Horin of Likht Ensemble.
Jaclyn Grossman also noted that “At a time where the last survivors are leaving us and anti-Semitism is once again on the rise, it is up to young people to pick up their torches, discover their pasts, and unearth what was forgotten.”
The ensemble asserts that the music of the Holocaust should be widely available not only because of its critical historical import, but also because of its artistic merit. While it is essential to remember the horrors of the Holocaust and those who were lost, it is equally important to preserve the masterpieces of its composers and their message of hope and humanism.
The Shoah Songbook Part One: Terezín will be presented on April 4th, at 8:00PM ET through https://www.hgjewishtheatre.com/. The performance is free for all attendees.
“The urge to play and create in Terezín was the urge to live.”
— Vicktor Ullman
About Part One: Terezín
Jaclyn Grossman, Soprano and Co-Curator
Nate Ben-Horin, Pianist and Co-Curator
Ilan Waldman & Madison Matthews, Creative Directors
Jonathan Colalillo, Audio Engineer
Ukolebavka, Gideon Klein
Wendla im Garten, Viktor Ullmann
Marienlied, Viktor Ullmann
Ade Kamerad, Ilse Weber (arr. Nate Ben-Horin)
Letter to my child (poem), Ilse Weber
Und der Regen rinnt, Ilse Weber (arr. Nate Ben-Horin)
Wiegala, Ilse Weber (arr. Nate Ben-Horin)
Musica Prohibita (poem), Ilse Weber
Vsechno jde!, Karel Švenk
About the Likht Ensemble
Likht (ליכט, “light”) Ensemble is a collective of emerging artists whose goal is to uncover and disseminate music by Jewish composers from the Holocaust.
About the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company
At the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company we embrace and celebrate the Jewish story – stories about our history, stories about our beliefs, stories about our struggles and triumphs. These stories have been 5,000 years in the making; they have universal application. These stories have to be told and need to be seen. It is our responsibility and privilege to share them with the world.
For more information or interview opportunities, contact David Eisner at email@example.com or 416.579.0437