News Item

Conference:  Reimagining Erwin Schulhoff, Viktor Ullmann, and the German-Jewish-Czech World

08 10, 2011

Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Center for Jewish Studies

“Reimagining Erwin Schulhoff, Viktor Ullmann, and the German-Jewish-Czech World”

Interdisciplinary Conference at Arizona State University
March 4-5, 2012

Call for Papers

The Center for Jewish Studies and the School of Music at Arizona State University in collaboration with The OREL Foundation announce an international conference and festival devoted to the life, times and musical legacy of Viktor Ullmann and Erwin Schulhoff. The conference will be held at Arizona State University, March 4-5, 2012.

Among the Jewish composers who died in the Holocaust, or whose music was suppressed by the Third Reich, these two stand out for their productivity, the quality of their musical imaginations, and the unusual and fraught contexts in which they worked. Both were simultaneously exceptional and representative, and their teachers and associates include Debussy, Schoenberg, George Grosz and Alexander Zemlinsky. While both Schulhoff and Ullmann spent time in concentration camps and were killed by the Nazis, they were very different kinds of Jewish intellectuals: Ullmann was a committed follower of Anthroposophy who became an important music critic during his time in Terezin, while Schulhoff became a committed Communist, ending up in Würzburg, where he died of tuberculosis. Their compositions, incorporating everything from jazz to Dada, and from duodecaphony to national songs, are remarkable in their power and scope. The lives and activities of both composers raise questions about Jewish identity and Jewish music. Schulhoff wrote a Symphonia Germanica, a Sonata Erotica and a Sonata Eroica, and movements in Czech, Slovak and Gypsy style, but nothing “alla Hebraica,” while Ullmann was brought up as a Christian and only began to consider Jewish musical models while in Terezin, particularly in his final piano sonata.

This conference seeks to reevaluate the musical legacy of Ullmann and Schulhoff and their contemporaries, connecting it with other strands, themes and contexts in European culture.

Papers are hereby solicited on the following themes:

1. The contribution of Ullmann and Schulhoff to Western music
2. Ullmann and Schulhoff in the context of 20th-century European culture
3. Particularism and universalism in the music of Ullmann and Schulhoff
4. Ullmann and Schulhoff as Czech nationals
5. Inclusion and Exclusion: Jewish and Czechoslovak Perspectives
6. Ullmann and Schulhoff: The Interface of Music and Ideology

This will be a two-day event featuring both scholarly presentations and performances. We cordially invite submissions that deal with the work of either composer or a related topic.

Abstracts (250 words) should be submitted by October 1, 2011 to: Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, Director

Center for Jewish Studies at Arizona State University
PO Box 874302,  Tempe, AZ 85287-4302
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Organizing Committee:

Hava Tirosh-Samuelson
Director, Center for Jewish Studies
Arizona State University

Michael Beckerman
Chair, Department of Music, New York University
Distinguished Professor, Lancaster University

Robert Elias President
The OREL Foundation