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GUEST SERVICES



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Narratives of Belated Experience: Musical Testimony from the Holocaust

featuring Joseph Toltz

Date: Monday, November 5, 2012
Time: 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Building: Dixon Performing Arts Center (Annex) in Room 152
Location: uptown campus

 

Abstract:

Music has featured as a discourse in Holocaust narrative.  From the earliest forms of recorded testimony, literary works of recognized authors, and expert accounts of musicians in SS-commissioned orchestras, music has served as  a commemorative function for the Jewish community, a pedagogical tool in performance, a feature of testimony, and a complement to the historical narrative.  

When survivors emerged from camps and ghettos, a primary imperative in musical expression was to praise partisan fighters, perpetuate tragedies and commemorate lost communities and loved ones. As survivor testimony gained a stronger voice, music took a place in a discourse of spiritual resistance. In the early 1970s, the rediscovery of original compositions written in Terezín, and the extensive cultural program in this Czech ghetto prompted new discussions on the place of music in Nazi Europe.  Today, music composed in the Holocaust features in concert music experiences; testimonial collection projects have indexes relating to musical experience, and there is regular staging of Holocaust-associated music events, the most famous being the "Defiant Requiem", a project combining the performance of Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem with testimony from survivors who sang the same work in a series of concerts in Terezin in 1944.

Toltz’s presentation will draw on three unique collections of musical testimony from survivors from distinct periods. The first collection comes straight after the war, in the Displaced Persons camps in 1946. Dr David Boder's collection of musical recordings has not been addressed by scholars, despite the keen interest in his work from historians.  Secondly, Professor David Bloch, one of the first academic pioneers of Terezin music research, spent years collecting musical testimony from prominent survivor musicians, in order to inform his own understanding of the place of performance in the ghetto.  The final collection is Toltz’s own ethnographic research, undertaken over the past 12 years with approximately 100 survivors living on four different continents.  How has our understanding of musical testimony changed with the passage of history? How do we treat this material today? Does it contain a greater potential for future commemoration and understanding of the function of music in times of extreme trauma?



Sponsored by: Newcomb Music Department as well as Campus Outreach Lecture Program of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, supported by the generosity of the Jerome A. Yavitz Charitable Foundation, Inc. and Arlyn S. and Stephen H. Cypen.

Admission: Free
Attendance: Open to the public
Open to: Alumni, Faculty, Graduate students, Parents, Prospective undergrads, Staff, Undergraduates, Visitors

Tickets: Not required

For more information contact Diane Banfell via email to dbanfel@tulane.edu or by phone at 504-865-5267

Additional information may be found at the event website at http://tulane.edu/liberal-arts/music






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