Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices

group singing

The Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices is a unique Colburn resource that encourages greater awareness and more frequent performances of music by composers whose careers and lives were disrupted—or worse—during the years of the Nazi regime in Europe.

Undoing injustice, when and where one can, is a moral mandate for all citizens of a civilized world. James Conlon

For more than 25 years, James Conlon, Artistic Director of the Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices at the Colburn School, has championed works by these composers and by so doing has drawn deserved attention to composers whose names and works had very nearly been eliminated from history. Inspired by LA Opera’s groundbreaking Recovered Voices project, and with the support of Los Angeles philanthropist Marilyn Ziering, the Colburn School and James Conlon established the Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices at the Colburn School. Under the administrative direction of Robert Elias and with the critical support of individual philanthropists, the Ziering-Conlon Initiative expands the pioneering mission of Maestro Conlon and brings this important repertory back to life for generations to come.

Over the past six years, the Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices at the Colburn School has inspired the discovery, understanding, and performance of a vast array of instrumental and vocal music. Through an annual adult-learning and conservatory-level course, competitions, symposia, performances, recordings, and social events, the work of these composers has been rediscovered and revitalized in ways we hope will inspire musicians and audiences far into the future.

This important works needs your support. Please make a gift to ensure the activities of Maestro Conlon, Mr. Elias, and the many interested musicians and audience members can continue undoing the injustice that was done.

Donate Now

Support Recovered Voices with your gift to the Colburn School. Please indicate you would like your gift to go to the Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices.

Activities and Impact of the Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices at Colburn

2021: Schulhoff and More Mini Series

Cultivating understanding and appreciation through education

  • In the Colburn School’s academic setting, Conlon brings his artistry, energy, and knowledge to the next generation of great musicians from the Colburn Conservatory as well as dozens of adult learners each year through a semester-long Recovered Voices class. This course is offered each spring, for free to the public, as well as to Colburn students. Maestro Conlon and Robert Elias lead the course each spring and features scholars and presenters from throughout North America, including:
  • Walter Arlen, composer and former Los Angeles Times music critic
  • Professor Michael Beckerman of NYU, Czech music scholar and co‐founder of The OREL Foundation
  • Alex Ross, author and music critic of The New Yorker magazine
  • Christoph Waltz, two-time Academy Award-winning actor
  • Stephanie Barron, Senior Curator of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
  • Symon Wynberg, Artistic Director of the ARC Ensemble of the Royal Academy of Music in Toronto
  • Dr. Lily Hirsch, musicologist
  • Kathrin Korngold Hubbard, granddaughter of Erich Wolfgang Korngold
  • Harvey Sachs, scholar of music in fascist Italy
  • Carla Shapreau of UC Berkeley, authority on musical cultural property looted by the Nazis
  • Bret Werb, Curator of Music and Sound Recording Collections at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC
  • The Ziering‐Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices has hosted two international symposia, welcoming over two dozen scholars and performing musicians from four countries and attended by hundreds of interested members of the public from around the U.S. These symposia have covered two themes, “Music, Censorship and Meaning in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union: Echoes and Consequences” and “How Should We Perform the Troubled Past?: A Weekend of Concerts and Conversation,” and have brought together musicians and scholars to ask questions about the performance of works composed in fraught circumstances, focusing primarily on “Recovered Voices” compositions.
  • Recovered Voices organized a series of lectures in 2018 at Santa Monica’s Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences attended by approximately 300 West LA residents. In addition to the lectures, the Crossroads String Orchestra performed “Study for Strings” by Pavel Haas as part of the lecture on Theresienstadt.

Building audience through performances

  • Colburn Conservatory students and faculty have learned and continue to perform chamber works by a wide range of composers, including:
  • Franz Schreker
  • Pál Hermann 
  • Erwin Schulhoff
  • Walter Kaufmann
  • Viktor Ullmann
  • Dick Kattenburg
  • Mieczyslaw Weinberg
  • Gideon Klein
  • Alexander Zemlinsky
  • Erich Wolfgang Korngold
  • Paul Ben‐Haim
  • Szymon Laks
  • Hanns Eisler
  • Renzo Massarani
  • Recovered Voices inspired the American premiere of seven different Pál Hermann works (some of them world premieres), including three vocal works, which were performed by Katherine Giaquinto and Tali Tadmor. Ms. Giaquinto and Ms. Tadmor have subsequently performed these songs in other venues as well.
  • The first movement of a Pál Hermann cello concerto was recently found by Hermann’s daughter, and an orchestration of additional movements by Fabio Conti was subsequently commissioned by the composer’s family. Colburn faculty member and former cellist of the Tokyo Quartet, Clive Greensmith, who has been a champion of Recovered Voices works, premiered the work in Lviv, Ukraine and Bellingham, Washington, USA. The Hermann Cello Concerto, three songs and other works were commercially recorded for the Toccata recording label. Once additional works have been recorded, a full-length CD of these works will be released. Bob Elias will be writing the liner notes for that recording. Videographer Hanh Nguyen also video-recorded various events at Colburn in which the music of Pál Hermann was performed. As a result of these encounters with the story and the music of the composer, and inspired by the enthusiasm of Clive Greensmith, Ms. Nguyen is producing a feature-length documentary on the life of music of the composer. View the trailer for the documentary below.


  • The Black Oak Ensemble, with the input of the Recovered Voices Initiative, has performed the Pál Hermann String Trio numerous times and included it on the group’s new recording on the Cedille label. Bob Elias has written the liner notes for this recording, drawing special attention to the music of Hermann.
  • In 2015, a concert, “A Poet in Exile: A Special Tribute Concert of Works,” led by James Conlon was dedicated to the music of Walter Arlen at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Arts.
  • Recurring recitals of Art Songs by Recovered Voices composers is produced in collaboration with the Ziering‐Conlon Initiative and SongFest, a month-long annual summer art song festival at Colburn.
  • Recovered Voices works are included in the vast repertoire performed at Colburn’s weekly public Performance Forum and Chamber Music Forum performances.
  • Original choreography was created for a work by Dutch composer Dick Kattenburg (1919–44) and was performed by a 17-year old Colburn dancer on the annual Evening of Dance program of the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute at Colburn and then again in January 2019 for the Recovered Voices Monday evening class.
  • 2016 SongFest Ziering‐Conlon Fellow Kristina Bachrach, who won First Prize at the Recovered Voices 2015 Art Song competition, has taken the Recovered Voices mission very much to heart and regularly performs recitals featuring the works of these composers. She and pianist Miori Sugiyama plan to release a CD of this music in 2020.

Inspiring emerging musicians through competitions

  • Bi-annual Recovered Voices Young Artist Competitions have inspired young musicians of instrumental and vocal works to learn Recovered Voices works. These competitions offer cash prizes and include a public performance with live jury; students then adopt these works as part of their standard repertoire in their future careers.

The Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices is produced in partnership with the OREL Foundation, whose website is a resource for materials related to these composers. To access articles, essays, videos, and more, visit orelfoundation.org.