Music Forum

Date(s) - 05/08/2015
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Rm. 3491 (Large Seminar Rm.), Graduate Center

Remembering Terezín: Commemorations, Restagings, and (Post)Memory 

Tina Frühauf, Barry Brook Center


This talk addresses different approaches to musical memory of the Holocaust, discussing commemorations of composers and performers interned in Terezín; among them were Pavel Haas, Viktor Ullmann as well as Gideon Klein, but also lesser-known names such as pianist Hertha Berthold-Plaat and singer Kurt Messerschmidt.  Commemorations evolved in the course of postwar history, taking place in distinct stages. The first is represented by the so-called Befreiungsfeiern, which Holocaust survivors organized immediately after Germany’s surrender in what became known as Occupied Germany. The second stage points to later efforts in Divided Germany that recalled the musical life of the ghetto-camp through performances of works composed by Terezín’s inmates. The third phase refers to recent efforts to stage the “actual” (or rather imagined) events of Terezín, both in Europe and the United States. These three stages reflect very different sentiments of commemoration and will provide the groundwork for a broader discussion and a deeper understanding of how the musical life during the Holocaust could or should be remembered. Based on historical data and interviews gathered since 2010, and (auto)ethnography, I am questioning the applicability of early memory theories as put forth by Max Weber, Jan Assman, and others. Leaning on Wulf Kansteiner and his methodological critique of collective memory studies (2002/2006) as well as on the work of Marianne Hirsch’s work on postmemory, I am seeking to problematize Holocaust commemorations in an effort to broaden the ongoing discussion in order to find new meaning for commemorations with music for the future.

Tina Frühauf is teaching at Columbia University and is editor at Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale in New York. Born and educated in Germany (with a PhD in Historical Musicology from the Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen), she has lived in New York since 1999, and holds dual citizenship.  Frühauf’s research is centered on the developing field of music and Jewish studies, especially in religious contexts, but also art music, historiography, and Jewish community (through participatory action research), often crossing the methodological boundaries between ethnomusicology and historical musicology.  She has received most recently fellowships and grants from the American Musicological Society, the Leo Baeck Institute, and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. Dr. Frühauf has written widely about the German Jewish music culture; aside from book chapters and encyclopedia articles, her work appeared in The Musical Quarterly, Musica Judaica, and TDR: The Drama Review. She is the author of The Organ and Its Music in German-Jewish Culture (Oxford University Press, 2009/2012); editor of An Anthology of German-Jewish Organ Music, Hans Samuel: Selected Piano Works (A-R Editions, 2013), and Dislocated Memories: Jews, Music, and Postwar German Culture (Oxford University Press, 2014). She has just signed a contract on her second book designed for a more general readership (the first, Salomon Sulzer: Reformer, Cantor, Icon, was published by Hentrich & Hentrich in English and German in 2014):Experiencing Jewish Music in America: A Listener’s Companion (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017). Dr. Frühauf is currently completing a comprehensive monograph on music in the Jewish communities of Germany after 1945. She has just organized the 2015 conference Postmodernity’s Musical Pasts: Rediscoveries and Revivals after 1945, hosted by The Barry S. Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation, to venture into new areas of musicological inquiry.



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