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Gregorij H. von Leitis
Michael Lahr
The Founders - Michael Lahr
Michael Lahr
studied philosophy and adult education at the College of Philosophy in Munich and at the Jesuit University Centre Sevres in Paris. In 1990, he was accepted at the Cusanuswerk as a fellowship student. From 1991 to 1994 he was a member of the educational commission of the Cusanuswerk.
Michael Lahr is a co-author of the volume of essays Bilder des Menschen (Images of Man), to which he contributed an article on Emmanuel Lévinas entitled Der Jüdische Humanismus und das Konzept der Verantwortung (Jewish Humanism and the Concept of Responsibility).  His essay about Nietzsches Einfluss auf die französische Gegenwartsphilosphie: Spurensuche im Werk Michel Foucaults (Nietzsche's Influence on French Contemporary Philosophy: Looking for Traces in the Work of Michel Foucault) was published in the yearbook of the Nietzsche Forum Munich e.V.
Photo: Michael Lahr. © Adriana Talpos
As a specialist on Erwin Piscator, the founder of the political and epic theater, he curated the exhibit Erwin Piscator: Political Theater in Exile, which so far has been seen in Bernried, New York, Catania, Salzburg, and Munich. At the opening of the Erwin Piscator exhibit, Münchner Merkur wrote: "During a research period of six months, Lahr put together personal letters, collages, drawings, and posters.  And now one can see, in this clearly laid-out exhibit, the great names of American theater, such as Tennessee Williams, Tony Curtis, Harry Belafonte, Walther Matthau or Shelley Winters on more than 70 photographs, not only during intensive stage rehearsals, but also in rare pictures, like those of Arthur Miller and Piscator at a cozy garden table, or of Marlon Brando in bathing attire in the middle of acting students on a green meadow during summer theater". In 2008, the Salzburger Volkszeitung wrote about the Piscator exhibit: "At the Mozarteum, this world traveler of the stage has been given a show which allows insight into the extensive life of an artist by way of numerous photos, writings, citations and videos".
As the program director of Elysium he has unearthed numerous works by artists who had to flee their home country under the pressure of the Nazi regime, or who were murdered. Many of these compositions were performed for the first time in concerts in Europe and the U.S. Among other efforts, he was responsible for the programs Music from Theresienstadt and Degenerate Music. He gives introductory lectures for all Elysium programs. At the same time, he lectures regularly on questions of general social and political significance.  Among other places, he has lectured at St. Norbert's College in De Pere, Wisconsin, at the American Academy in Berlin, at the Lessing Museum in Kamenz, at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York, at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, at the Deutsches Haus of New York University, at the University in Catania/Sicily, and at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, at the Vytautas-Magnus University in Kaunas, and at the University in Vilnius. In January 2011 he gave a lecture about Nietzsche's Enlightenment at the German Embassy in New Delhi / India. This lecture was repeated at Deutsches Haus of New York University in February 2011, later at Freunde deutscher Sprache (Friends of the German Language) in Greenwich, CT, as well as at the Atelier von Schoeler in Munich, and the residence of the German UN-Ambassador.
In 2006 he directed the Elysium production New Beginnings: Fragments of an Era. In 2008 he was responsible for the program Found Pieces: Musical-Literary Exploration through the Lahr von Leitis Archives, and in 2009 for Remember - For the Future. In 2010 he developed the concept for the program After us the Deluge? - A Montage, and in 2011 the collage The Gospel according to Kafka. The Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote about New Beginnings: "Michael Lahr directs the evening with a soft touch and a large sensibility for the close proximity between pain and love-of-life in those days." Münchner Merkur commented on the performance of Remember – For the Future: "Emotional applause gave thanks for this recital which was great on a literary, historical, and human level.  As put together by Michael Lahr, it could have been a radio play." Rhein-Zeitung wrote about Remember  - For the Future: "This impressive program invited the audience at the Neuwied Roentgen Museum to reflection." Münchner Merkur said about The Gospel according to Kafka: "Michael Lahr, Elysium's specialist for rare archival material provided the musical-literary collage. As always  with Elysium, there was no indoctrination nor finger-pointing. Art stood totally on its own. (...)  Arranger Michael Lahr had called this collection ‘The Gospel according to Kafka’, meaning ‘glad tidings’, because even in Kafka one can sometimes find glad undertones".
Michael Lahr is the Executive Director of The Lahr von Leitis Academy & Archive, Vice Chairman of the Erwin Piscator Award Society, Co-Director of the Elysium Festival in Bernried, and member of the advisory board of the Nietzsche Forum Munich e.V. and the Leon Askin Forum Vienna.

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