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Music and Memory

Music and Memory

Piano Sonatas of Viktor Ullmann

Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 7:00 pm


A number of prominent composers had their lives cut short by the Nazis. Among them was Viktor Ullmann, a distinguished Czech composer, conductor, and pianist of Jewish heritage whose work has rarely been performed since his death. In commemoration of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), pianist and award-winning music professor Jeanne Golan performed and discussed a selection of Ullmann's piano sonatas, including some written while he was imprisoned at Theresienstadt.

Golan recently spent her sabbatical year recording and performing Ullmann's music. Her efforts to reintroduce his work is testimony to his talent and provides a beautiful way for us to commemorate his life.

Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944) was a leading composer of his generation. Stirred by Goethe’s maxim, “live within the moment, live in eternity,” his music is autobiographical, accessible, and pays homage to the past by quoting music from Mozart to Yiddish folksong, from operetta to Bach. In September 1942, Ullmann was deported by the Nazis to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, where he continued to compose. In October 1944, he was transported to Auschwitz and murdered in the gas chambers.

Jeanne Golan is a pianist and award-winning professor of music who has performed extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe. She recently recorded the complete piano sonatas of Viktor Ullmann, pieces that span from his days as a prominent musical figure in Prague to his internment at Theresienstadt.

Golan, aside from being a formidable pianist, [has] a deep intellectual and aesthetic curiosity. She is an imaginative and tasteful curator of the programs she presents.
— Fanfare Magazine


This program was made possible with support from the Bernard and Rochelle Zell Center for Holocaust Studies at Spertus.

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