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Giving voice to silenced works

Giving voice to silenced works

Music written 78 years ago in Germany during World War II will be heard for the first time at a conference in Wellington this year.

The premiere of Vom jüdischen Schicksal by Richard Fuchs is one of the many works being presented during the Recovering Forbidden Voices conference—a collaborative event hosted by Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music (NZSM) and the German and History departments of Victoria University of Wellington.

One of the conference organisers, Professor Donald Maurice, believes the event will give a voice to the musical works of composers and performers who were silenced during World War II.

“Most were victims of the Holocaust and the Nazi regime’s attempt to eradicate what it described as “entartete” or “decadent” music, predominantly by Jewish composers.

“These works are a wonderful example of how people responded artistically to the horrifying circumstances which they were subjected to at the time.

“In many cases these works have hardly been heard before—in the case of the Fuchs work, it will be the first time ever.”

Fuchs emigrated to New Zealand in 1939 to escape the oppressive racism towards Jews in Germany before the war.

His life in New Zealand didn’t allow room for much of his music to be performed and it is only in recent years, mainly through the activities of the Trust set up by his grandson Danny Mulheron, that much of Fuchs’s creative output has been heard.

The conference includes keynote addresses by international authors Michael Haas and Tanya Tintner and composer Laurence Sherr.

New Zealand academics will be joined by others from the United Kingdom, Europe, Israel and Australia to take part in four panel presentations, alongside 13 concerts including solo piano pieces, chamber music, choral works, two orchestral concerts and an opera.

Recovering Forbidden Voices also includes music that has been written since WWII as a response to the atrocities and tragedies of that time.

The performers include professional performance staff from NZSM including the New Zealand String Quartet, the SMP Ensemble, Cantoris Choir and NZSO players as well as senior NZSM students and international guests.

Details
When: 22–25 August 2014
Where: St Andrew's on The Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand
Registrations are now open: http://bit.ly/1kIC3Ix
For more information, including a full conference programme: http://bit.ly/THNnLh

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