“Exiles in Hollywood” Features Works by Korngold, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Tansman and Weinberg, performed by Recovered Voices Program Manager and Violinist Adam Millstein and pianist Dominic Cheli
October 26, 2023
“Shostakovich and Weinberg, A Journey toward Hope” Pairs the Composers’ Intimately Connected Piano Quintets
December 10, 2023
Dedicated to emigre, composer, and long-time Los Angeles resident Walter Arlen, “The Music of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Walter Arlen” features U.S. premieres of quartets by Castelnuovo-Tedesco
March 15, 2023
Los Angeles, CA (Monday, October 23, 2023) – The Colburn School’s Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices, a unique Colburn resource that encourages greater awareness and more frequent performances of music by composers whose careers and lives were destroyed by the Nazi regime, brings important repertory back to life through three upcoming performances featuring the works of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Alexandre Tansman, Mieczysław Weinberg, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Walter Arlen. James Conlon, Founder and Director of the Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices, has long championed works by these composers and others like them, drawing deserved attention to artists whose names and works had very nearly been eliminated from history.
On October 23, Recovered Voices program manager and violinist Adam Millstein and pianist Dominic Cheli will perform a one hour selection of concert music by Korngold, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Tansman, and Weinberg, all who shaped the sound of film music, for “Exiles in Hollywood.” These composers were from different parts of Europe and were forced into exile following the rise of the Third Reich due to their Jewish Heritage. The musical selections were all written (with the exception of Weinberg’s “Moldavian Rhapsody”) before the war and each composer’s subsequent exile, however elements of these concert works demonstrate musical characteristics that later became prominent in film music. The musical works and composers will be introduced from the stage with a guided musicological/historical “tour” by Mr. Millstein. All of the composers ended up working in Hollywood with the exception of Mieczysław Weinberg who wrote prolifically for film in the Soviet Union.
KORNGOLD Much Ado About Nothing Suite
CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO Sonata quasi una Fantasia
WEINBERG Moldavian Rhapsody for Violin and Piano
Korngold was a child genius composer, a true “wünderkind,” who is considered one of the godfathers of the Hollywood sound. While exiled in Los Angeles, he composed some of the most influential film scores that embody the golden age of Hollywood. His incidental music for Much Ado About Nothing was a smash success upon its premiere in Europe, and Adam Millstein and Dominic Cheli will be performing the composer’s arrangement of his original work for violin and piano. Although written for a play, the shimmering sounds of the big screen are anticipated in this joyous work.
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s rhapsodic Sonata quasi una Fantasia is a rarely performed treasure for the violin and piano repertoire. The work is lyrical, expansive, and emotional, successfully highlighting the expressive capabilities of both instruments. Following Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s exile to Los Angeles, the composer worked on hundreds of film scores but is also known for his important role as a sought after composition teacher on the Hollywood lots. He taught around 100 film composers including Andre Previn, Henry Mancini, and John Williams.
Prior to Alexandre Tansman’s exile to the United States, the composer enjoyed a fruitful musical life in Paris. He was exposed to the great Parisian salons of the 1920s by Maurice Ravel and upon touring the United States he was introduced to Jazz by George Gershwin and Charlie Chaplin. This Sonatine written originally for flute in 1926, embodies a charming Parisian sensibility that through short musical vignettes embody different styles of modernist composition.
Mieczysław Weinberg fled the Nazis by foot to the Soviet Union following the invasion of his native Poland. The rest of his family remained behind, and he would learn years later of their murder by the Nazis. While in the Soviet Union he wrote prolifically not only for the concert hall but also for film and cartoons. He befriended Dmitiri Shostakovich who became a mentor and collaborator. Following WWII, Stalin implemented a series of antisemitic policies and in 1953 Weinberg was arrested by the KGB, interrogated and imprisoned under the false accusation of establishing a Jewish Republic in Crimea. Weinberg was arrested in the evening following a performance of his “Moldavian Rhapsody” and placed in solitary confinement until his release a few months later following the death of Stalin. “The Moldavian Rhapsody” sources Jewish folk music and themes from his mother’s country of Moldova. This is a bold and beautiful virtuosic showpiece that belongs in the same beloved league as Sarasate’s “Zigeunerweisen” and Ravel’s “Tzigane”.
In response to the sold-out performance of the Shostakovich and Weinberg Piano Trios last season, “Shostakovich and Weinberg, A Journey toward Hope” pairs the composers’ intimately connected piano quintets, performed by violinists Adam Millstein and Jason Moon, violist Ben Ullery, cellist Yoshika Masuda, and pianist Dominic Cheli on December 10, 2023. Shostakovich would have written his quintet in 1940 shortly before meeting Weinberg for the first time. Fleeing the invading German forces in 1941, Weinberg made his way to Uzbekistan eventually meeting Shostakovich. After this meeting, Weinberg stated: “It was as if I had been born anew…Although I took no lessons from him (Shostakovich) he was the first person to whom I would show each of my new works.” Weinberg’s Quintet shows his musical admiration of the older Shostakovich, while still retaining his own steely personality throughout. In Weinberg’s own words he stated: “My Moral Duty is to write about the horrors that befell mankind in our century.” These quintets bookend WWII and show each composer’s musical attempt at struggling to find hope through their art.
SHOSTAKOVICH Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57
WEINBERG Piano Quintet, Op. 18
Dedicated to émigré, composer, and long-time Los Angeles resident Walter Arlen, “The Music of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Walter Arlen” features premieres of works by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Walter Arlen, who both fled fascism and artistic repression in Europe and made their home in Los Angeles. The concert, to be held on March 15, 2023, will include U.S. premiere performances of quartets by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco including one written based on the name of Walter Arlen. In a pre-concert talk beginning at 5:30 pm, moderator Adam Millstein will talk with special guests: James Conlon, conductor; Harvey Sachs, musicologist and writer; and Diana Castelnuovo-Tedesco, the composer’s granddaughter about the life-defining challenges exiled artists faced in the 1930s and 40s and what must be done today to keep their work alive.
Walter Arlen (1920-1923) was a composer, educator, and critic who was exiled to the United States from his native Vienna in 1939. Walter worked as a journalist and critic for the Los Angeles Times and founded the music department at Loyola Marymount University. He was a part of the exiled artistic milieu in Los Angeles and was friends with a wide range of composers and intellectuals including Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Their friendship will be explored in this concert through works that were written by each composer for the other. Walter was an important part of the musical fabric of Los Angeles for decades and this concert will allow for an opportunity to hear rarely performed works by both composers.
All performances will be held in Colburn School’s Thayer Hall, and will be available via livestream, at www.colburnschool.edu/livestream.
About the Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices
Led by Founder and Director James Conlon and inspired by LA Opera’s groundbreaking Recovered Voices project, the Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices was established at Colburn in 2013 with the support of Los Angeles philanthropist Marilyn Ziering. Through performances in Southern California and around the world, writings, original video series, a Ted Talk titled “Resurrecting Forbidden Music”, classes, competitions, symposia, recordings, and more, the Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices brings well-deserved attention to composers whose names and works were very nearly eliminated from history. It is designed also to inspire young musicians to learn about the artists and return to their music throughout their career.
During the 2022-23 season, the Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices presented performances at the Mondavi Center at UC Davis, in Zipper Hall at the Colburn School, and at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles. The Recovered Voices Initiative also released Shapeshifter (Delos Records), an album featuring works by Erwin Schulhoff performed by artists from Colburn and Maestro Conlon. Other recent projects include a livestreamed concert presented by the Library of Congress; performances at the Nevada Chamber Music Festival, Broad Stage, Harvard Memorial Church, and Chigiana Chamber Festival in Siena, Italy; and an album of works by Pál Hermann (Toccata Classics) featuring Colburn cello faculty member Clive Greensmith, and an accompanying documentary, Following Pál.
The Recovered Voices Initiative is grateful to Robert Elias for many years of critical support and to the individual philanthropists whose generous contributions have made it possible to bring this important repertory back to life for generations to come.About the Colburn School
A performing arts institution located in the heart of Los Angeles, the Colburn School trains students from beginners to those about to embark on professional careers. The academic units of the School provide a complete spectrum of music and dance education united by a single philosophy: that all who desire to study music or dance should have access to top-level instruction.
Each year, more than 2,000 students from around the world come to Colburn to benefit from the renowned faculty, exceptional facilities, and focus on excellence that unites the community.
The Colburn Center, designed by Frank Gehry, is a multi-faceted campus expansion of the Colburn School expected to open in 2026. Located across the street from the School’s existing campus at the intersection of Olive and Second Streets, the Colburn Center will enable the School to expand its mission of presenting programs for the public. Gehry’s design includes Terri and Jerry Kohl Hall, a 1,000-seat in-the-round concert hall, four professional-sized dance studios, a 100-seat flexible studio theater, and gardens that bring fresh air and green spaces to the downtown landscape.
Learn more at www.colburnschool.edu.
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