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News Archive 2014
 
Monday, November 10, 2014 at 7.00 pm
Karl Jaspers Haus
Unter den Eichen 22
26122 Oldenburg / Germany
Erwin Piscator and the First World War
Reconstructing the Birth of his Political Theatre
Lecture by Michael Lahr
The experiences of the gruelling static warfare at the Western front in Flanders left an indelible mark in the life of the young infantryman Erwin Piscator (1893 – 1966). Those events shaped him both as a human being and an artist. In the 1920s in Berlin, Piscator rose to fame as a celebrated but also highly controversial theatre director. With his politically revolutionary, aesthetically vanguard, and technically innovative theatre productions he established a new form of theatre: the Political or Epic Theatre. With his world-premiere of Jaroslav Hasek’s “The Adventures of the Good Soldier Schwejk” (1928) he made a name for himself on the world stage. He fled from the Nazi Regime, first to Paris, eventually to the United States. In his exile in New York he founded the Dramatic Workshop, a theatre school which educated an entire generation of very successful American actors and playwrights, among them Harry Belafonte and Tennessee Williams. In the 1960s, Piscator again intervened in the political and social debate of the young Federal Republic of Germany. As the artistic director of the Freie Volksbühne Berlin (Free People’s Theater Berlin), he staged the world premieres of Rolf Hochhuth’s “The Deputy” and Peter Weiss’s “The Investigation”. With those and other productions he initiated a public debate about the entanglement of ordinary Germans into the Holocaust.
A decade after the end of World War I, Erwin Piscator wrote in his programmatic book “The Political Theater” that the war was his instructor and teacher. This lecture considers in detail, what lessons Piscator learned from his experiences at the frontlines and how this cataclysmic event shaped Piscator’s artistry and persona.
During his research, Michael Lahr found previously unpublished poems and entries of Piscator’s wartime diaries. Some of them will be presented during this lecture for the very first time to the public.
Michael Lahr has written an article dealing with the same topic which will be published in the first edition of the Karl Jaspers Yearbook “Open Horizons” (2014). This edition will be launched and presented to the public immediately following this lecture.
Admission: free
The event is organized and presented by the Karl Jaspers Gesellschaft e.V.
 
Friday, November 7, 2014 at 7.30 pm
Austrian Cultural Forum New York
11 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10022
“Mein Liebeslied muß ein Walzer sein”
An Operetta Revue and Tribute to Marta Eggerth’s Artistry
Arias, duets and scenes from various operettas
presented by Kristina Eckelhoff (Soprano), Melissa Primavera (Soprano),
Bruce Rameker (Baritone), and Alexis Rodda (Soprano)
Piano and Musical Direction: Dan Franklin Smith
Concept and Direction: Jeannie Im
Admission: free
Reservations are necessary and can be made at www.acfny.org
Presented by the Austrian Cultural Forum New York in cooperation with Elysium – between two continents and The Lahr von Leitis Academy & Archive
 
Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 8.00 pm
Florence Kopleff Recital Hall
Georgia State University
10 Peachtree Center Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30303
“Cornet: Viktor Ullmann’s Legacy from Theresienstadt
In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Ullmann’s murder in Auschwitz
In 1942, the Austrian-Jewish composer Viktor Ullmann was deported to the ghetto and concentration camp Theresienstadt north of Prague. Despite horrible circumstances, Ullmann composed a number of great works there. His artistry helped himself and gave consolation and strength to his fellow inmates. In October of 1944 Ullmann was murdered in Auschwitz. But his compositions from Theresienstadt were saved and to this day bear witness to Ullmann’s powerful creativity and deep humanity.
“The Lay of Love and Death of Cornet Christoph Rilke“ for recitation and piano is based on Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem of the same title. It tells the haunting story of a young soldier who – within one night – finds fullfilment in love and then dies in battle when the enemies attack the castle where he and his company are resting. The music poignantly illustrates, comments and emphasizes the dramatic action. Ullmann composed the “Cornet“ in the summer of 1944 and dedicated it to his wife Elisabeth on her birthday on September 27. Three weeks later they both were deported to Auschwitz, along with a number of artists from Theresienstadt, and killed in the gas chambers immediately after their arrival.
Program
Introductory Lecture on Music from Theresienstadt – Michael Lahr
Piano Sonata No. 6 (op. 49)
“The Lay of Love and Death of Cornet Christoph Rilke”
Recitation – Gregorij H. von Leitis
Piano – Dan Franklin Smith
Admission: free
Presented by the College of Arts & Sciences of Georgia State University in cooperation with Elysium – between two continents and The Lahr von Leitis Academy & Archive
 
Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 7.30 pm
Consulate General of the Czech Republic
Czech Center
321 East 73rd Street
New York, NY 10021
“Hate is a Failure of Imagination”
The literary collage “Hate is a Failure of Imagination“ is a testament to the power of imagination and to the profound love and humanity of the artists who were imprisoned in the ghetto and concentration camp Theresienstadt.
Originally established as a collection camp for the Jews who lived in the so-called “Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia”, it soon was used as a propaganda instrument to distract the world from the Final Solution. For a certain period of time the inmates of Theresienstadt had the chance to be active artistically and could organize readings, concerts, plays, even cabaret performances. But behind this cynical disguise, the systematic death machinery of the Holocaust continued to function without constraints.
The Nazis relentlessly stoked hate against the Jews. They tried to dehumanize them and degrade them to mere numbers. But the artists who were imprisoned in Theresienstadt, countered this hate – which Graham Greene so aptly described as a failure of imagination – with a powerful offensive of imagination. With their artistic phantasy, their creative power, their inventive energy they continuously proved wrong the national-socialist dictum, that Jews were sub-human and as such incapable of any real culture.
Concept & Introductory Lecture: Michael Lahr
Recitation: Gregorij H. von Leitis
Admission: free
Reservations are necessary and can be made at info@lahrvonleitisacademy.eu or elysiumbtc@aol.com
 
Saturday, September 13, 2014 at 6.00 pm
Münchner Künstlerhaus
Lenbachplatz 8
80333 München / Germany
“Cornet: Viktor Ullmann’s Legacy from Theresienstadt”
In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Ullmann’s murder in Auschwitz
In 1942, the Austrian-Jewish composer Viktor Ullmann was deported to the ghetto and concentration camp Theresienstadt north of Prague. Despite of horrible circumstances, Ullmann composed a number of great works there. His artistry helped himself and gave consolation and strength to his fellow inmates. In October of 1944 Ullmann was murdered in Auschwitz. But his compositions from Theresienstadt were saved and to this day bear witness to Ullmann’s powerful creativity and deep humanity.
“The Lay of Love and Death of Cornet Christoph Rilke“ for recitation and piano is based on Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem of the same title. It tells the haunting story of a young soldier who – within one night – finds fullfilment in love and then dies in battle when the enemies attack the castle where he and his company are resting. The music poignantly illustrates, comments and emphasizes the dramatic action. Ullmann composed the “Cornet“ in the summer of 1944 and dedicated it to his wife Elisabeth on her birthday on September 27. Three weeks later they both were deported to Auschwitz, along with a number of artists from Theresienstadt, and killed in the gas chambers immediately after their arrival.
Program
Introductory Lecture on Music from Theresienstadt – Michael Lahr
Piano Sonata No. 6 (op. 49)
“The Lay of Love and Death of Cornet Christoph Rilke”
Recitation – Gregorij H. von Leitis
Piano – Dan Franklin Smith
Admission € 18 / € 9 (reduced)
Advance Ticket Sales:
Münchner Künstlerhaus phone +49-(0)89-59 91 84 14, info@kuenstlerhaus-muc.de
München Ticket phone +49-(0)89-54 81 81 81, www.muenchenticket.de
Presented by Münchner Künstlerhaus in cooperation with Elysium – between two continents and The Lahr von Leitis Academy & Archive
 
Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 7.00 pm
Spanish Synagogue
U staré školy 1
110 00 Prague 1 / Czech Republic
“Cornet: Viktor Ullmann’s Legacy from Theresienstadt”
In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Ullmann’s murder in Auschwitz
In 1942, the Austrian-Jewish composer Viktor Ullmann was deported to the ghetto and concentration camp Theresienstadt north of Prague. Despite horrible circumstances, Ullmann composed a number of great works there. His artistry helped himself and gave consolation and strength to his fellow inmates. In October of 1944 Ullmann was murdered in Auschwitz. But his compositions from Theresienstadt were saved and to this day bear witness to Ullmann’s powerful creativity and deep humanity.
“The Lay of Love and Death of Cornet Christoph Rilke“ for recitation and piano is based on Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem of the same title. It tells the haunting story of a young soldier who – within one night – finds fullfilment in love and then dies in battle when the enemies attack the castle where he and his company are resting. The music poignantly illustrates, comments and emphasizes the dramatic action. Ullmann composed the “Cornet“ in the summer of 1944 and dedicated it to his wife Elisabeth on her birthday on September 27. Three weeks later they both were deported to Auschwitz, along with a number of artists from Theresienstadt, and killed in the gas chambers immediately after their arrival.
Program
Introductory Lecture on Music from Theresienstadt – Michael Lahr
Piano Sonata No. 6 (op. 49)
“The Lay of Love and Death of Cornet Christoph Rilke”
Recitation – Gregorij H. von Leitis
Piano – Dan Franklin Smith
Admission: free
Presented by the Austrian Cultural Forum Prague in cooperation with the Jewish Museum Prague, the US-Embassy Prague, Elysium – between two continents and The Lahr von Leitis Academy & Archive
           
 
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at 7.30 pm
Austrian Cultural Forum Berlin
Stauffenbergstrasse 1
10785 Berlin / Germany
”Cornet: Viktor Ullmann’s Legacy from Theresienstadt”
In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Ullmann’s murder in Auschwitz
In 1942, the Austrian-Jewish composer Viktor Ullmann was deported to the ghetto and concentration camp Theresienstadt north of Prague. Despite horrible circumstances, Ullmann composed a number of great works there. His artistry helped himself and gave consolation and strength to his fellow inmates. In October of 1944 Ullmann was murdered in Auschwitz. But his compositions from Theresienstadt were saved and to this day bear to Ullmann’s powerful creativity and deep humanity.
“The Lay of Love and Death of Cornet Christoph Rilke“ for recitation and piano is based on Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem of the same title. It tells the haunting story of a young soldier who – within one night – finds fullfilment in love and then dies in battle when the enemies attack the castle where he and his company are resting. The music poignantly illustrates, comments and emphasizes the dramatic action. Ullmann composed the “Cornet“ in the summer of 1944 and dedicated it to his wife Elisabeth on her birthday on September 27. Three weeks later they both were deported to Auschwitz, along with a number of artists from Theresienstadt, and killed in the gas chambers immediately after their arrival.
Program
Introductory Lecture on Music from Theresienstadt – Michael Lahr
Piano Sonata No. 6 (op. 49)
“The Lay of Love and Death of Cornet Christoph Rilke”
Recitation – Gregorij H. von Leitis
Piano – Dan Franklin Smith
Admission: free
Reservations are necessary and can be made at www.kulturforumberlin.at
Platzreservierung ist erforderlich. Bitte anmelden unter www.kulturforumberlin.at
Presented by the Austrian Cultural Forum Berlin in cooperation with Elysium – between two continents and The Lahr von Leitis Academy & Archive
 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 7.30 pm
St. Ursula
Parish Hall
Kaiserplatz 13 a
80803 Munich

“Hate is a Failure of Imagination”

The literary collage “Hate is a Failure of Imagination“ is a testament to the power of imagination and to the profound love and humanity of the artists who were imprisoned in the ghetto and concentration camp Theresienstadt.

Originally established as a collection camp for the Jews who lived in the so-called “Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia”, it soon was used as a propaganda instrument to distract the world from the Final Solution. For a certain period of time the inmates of Theresienstadt had the chance to be active artistically and could organize readings, concerts, plays, even cabaret performances. But behind this cynical disguise, the systematic death machinery of the Holocaust continued to function without constraints.

The Nazis relentlessly stoked hate against the Jews. They tried to dehumanize them and degrade them to mere numbers. But the artists who were imprisoned in Theresienstadt, countered this hate – which Graham Greene so aptly described as a failure of imagination – with a powerful offensive of imagination. With their artistic phantasy, their creative power, their inventive energy they continuously proved wrong the national-socialist dictum, that Jews were sub-human and as such incapable of any real culture.

Concept & Introductory Lecture: Michael Lahr
Recitation: Gregorij H. von Leïtis

Admission: free

 

Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 7.30 pm
Austrian Cultural Forum
Stauffenbergstrasse 1
10785 Berlin

“Hate is a Failure of Imagination”

The literary collage “Hate is a Failure of Imagination“ is a testament to the power of imagination and to the profound love and humanity of the artists who were imprisoned in the ghetto and concentration camp Theresienstadt.

Originally established as a collection camp for the Jews who lived in the so-called “Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia”, it soon was used as a propaganda instrument to distract the world from the Final Solution. For a certain period of time the inmates of Theresienstadt had the chance to be active artistically and could organize readings, concerts, plays, even cabaret performances. But behind this cynical disguise, the systematic death machinery of the Holocaust continued to function without constraints.

The Nazis relentlessly stoked hate against the Jews. They tried to dehumanize them and degrade them to mere numbers. But the artists who were imprisoned in Theresienstadt, countered this hate – which Graham Greene so aptly described as a failure of imagination – with a powerful offensive of imagination. With their artistic phantasy, their creative power, their inventive energy they continuously proved wrong the national-socialist dictum, that Jews were sub-human and as such incapable of any real culture.

Concept & Introductory Lecture: Michael Lahr
Recitation: Gregorij H. von Leïtis

Admission: free
Reservations are necessary and can be made at www.kulturforumberlin.at

 

Friday, April 25, 2014 at 8.00 pm
Woodlands Community Temple
50 Worthington Road
White Plains, NY 10607

„Uncovering the Lost Treasures of the Shoa to Create a Better World”

Lecture during the Holocaust Remembrance Shabbat

Growing up in Germany in the 1950s, Gregorij von Leitis experienced “a big silence” about the Shoah. In 1963, a powerful theater piece and the trials in Frankfurt of some of the officials of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp started Gregorij questioning his country’s past. Moving to New York in the late 1970s, he met writers and theater artists who had fled the Nazi regime but were now totally forgotten and learned of others who had been persecuted and killed, most of whose work had been lost. “I must do something,” he told himself. “I cannot let them die a second time; I can’t let them die through silence.”
Gregorij von Leitis has dedicated his life to keeping those voices alive by fighting discrimination, racism, and anti-Semitism by means of art.

Invited by the Woodlands Community Temple under Rabbi Billy Dreskin, Gregorij von Leitis will talk about his efforts with Elysium – between two continents and The Lahr von Leitis Academy & Archive to unearth and present those works created by artists persecuted by the Nazis and to preserve that work.

 
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 12.00 noon
The Lotos Club
5 East 66th Street
New York, NY 10065
27th Annual Erwin Piscator Award Luncheon to benefit our International Educational Programs
honoring Harold Prince (Erwin Piscator Award 2014) legendary director and producer of numerous Broadway hits, operas and plays for his outstanding contributions to the American theatre and musical theater, and Vartan Gregorian (Erwin Piscator Honorary Award 2014 in memory of Maria Ley Piscator) for his extraordinary contributions to education, culture and arts in the United States. Over the course of the last six decades he has served in various capacities on some of the finest educational and cultural institutions of this country, from his time at UCLA, and his professorship, position as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and later as Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, to his legendary tenure at the helmet of New York Public Library, his Presidency at Brown University, and currently his position as President of Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Admission: $ 325 (tickets are tax-deductible for the full amount less $ 85)
To receive an invitation please contact Michael Lahr
 
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 7.30 pm
Austrian Cultural Forum
11 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10022
Cornet: Ullmann’s Legacy from Theresienstadt
Commemorating the 70th anniversary of Viktor Ullmann’s death in Auschwitz
This evening is dedicated to the memory of our late Honorary Artistic Director Marta Eggerth
Despite degrading living conditions, despite hunger and pain, despite fear in the face of terror and death, many artists were able to be creative even in the concentration camps. Their art helped them to endure the daily suffering. One of those artists was the composer Viktor Ullmann (1898 - 1944). While being interned in Theresienstadt, he noted: "We did not sit moaning at the Rivers of Babylon and our will to be creative was as strong as our will to live."
Ullmann's will to be creative was admirable. During his two years in Theresienstadt, he composed a number of songs and piano sonatas, and the opera The Emperor of Atlantis.
The Cornet is the last composition that Ullmann was able to finish in Terezin, before he was deported to Auschwitz on October 16, 1944, where he and his wife Elisabeth were killed two days later. His music was rescued by a friend who survived the camps. The Lay of Love and Death of the Cornet Christoph Rilke is based on a text by Rainer Maria Rilke, from which Ullmann chose twelve pieces. Rilke tells the haunting story of a young soldier who experiences love and death in one night. Ullmann’s composition is a rare combination of recitation and piano. The music underlines the dramatic action, comments on it, illustrates it and thus intensifies the effect.
The Lay of Love and Death of Cornet Christoph Rilke for recitation and piano
and the Piano Sonata No. 6 by Viktor Ullmann
Introductory Lecture Music from Theresienstadt: Michael Lahr
Recitation: Gregorij H. von Leitis
Piano: Dan Franklin Smith
Admission: free
 
 

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