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TUESDAY, JUN 12 2018, 06:30 PM

In cooperation with the mdw, the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, exil.arte, and in the context of our ongoing 2018 Austrian Commemoration Year activities, the Austrian Cultural Forum New York and the Consulate General New York present an evening dedicated to the extraordinary, but little known music of André Singer (1907-1996).

The mdw's young piano Trio Artio will perform several pieces for cello, piano and violin to showcase Singer's extraordinary chamber music. The evening will be introduced by Dr. Susanne Korbel of the Graz-based Center for Jewish Studies, and it will be moderated by Professor Gerold Gruber, exil.arte's founding director and the chair of the exil.arte Center at the mdw. George Wolf, a Holocaust survivor who was born into a German-speaking Jewish family in Brno, will share personal stories and memories of André Singer of whom he was a close friend.

We appreciate in particular the support by Professor Joyce Lindorff of Temple University, the executrix of André Singer's compositions. Special thanks to Dr. Tim Corbett of the University of Vienna/Museum of Jewish Heritage New York for his valuable research support.


André (Andreas) Singer (Subotica, now Serbia, 1907 - 1986, New York) attended the mdw in 1925 to study composition with Joseph Marx and piano with Paul Weingarten. Singer was deputy director at the Belgrade Opera. In Vienna, he co-founded and wrote texts and compositions as Otto Andreas for the cabaret Literatur am Naschmarkt. In the United States, André took up theater work. In addition, he organized cabaret programs such as From Vienna or Reunion in New York with refugee artists. He served in the Army, helping to organize musical radio programs. From 1946 onwards, he taught composition, piano and analysis & theory at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, and the New School and City College in New York City. His work Canticle of Peace (1957) was toured in Europe. However, his more than 100 compositions of orchestral, choral, operatic, chamber and keyboard works, which drew inspiration from literature, especially satire, and the visual arts, were performed mainly at the college's musical programs in and around New York. After his death in 1996, his work fell mostly into obscurity.

George Wolf was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, into a large, well-off family. When Hitler annexed Austria in the spring of 1938, there was a delirious outpouring of anti-Semitic violence . Later that year, Czechoslovakia had to give up its border regions, the Sudetenland, in consequence of the infamous Munich Pact. "Kristallnacht" followed in November, with Jewish businesses and homes trashed, Jews killed in the streets, and most synagogues burned to the ground. When the Germans occupied the rest of the Czech lands in 1939, his father, foreseeing the disaster, managed to take George and his mother out, first to France and later Switzerland. George's grandparents and most of the rest of the family were murdered in Auschwitz. From comfortably middle class, the Wolf family, became homeless, stateless refugees. After the end of World War II, George worked for the US Consulate in Zurich and as a translator at the Nurnberg War Crimes Trials. Late in 1946, at age 19, Mr. Wolf landed in New York on the first civilian ship, where he rebuilt his life, initially in the US Army. Later on, Mr. Wolf became a fashion industry designer, and eventually manufacturer. After retirement, he found a new career in social work, and volunteer work with The Blue Card, aiding Holocaust survivors in need. In 1958, George Wolf married Beth, née Horelick, a pianist, who studied with André Singer at Sarah Lawrence College, in Bronxville, from 1946 to 1950. Singer became close friends with the Wolfs in the early 1960s. George Wolf learned a great deal about musical history and compositional critique attending concerts with Singer, while his wife Beth played chamber music. As André Singer aged, Beth took charge of his well-being, driving him to doctor appointments and offering him summers at Cape Cod where the Wolfs had a house. André Singer occupied an entire floor and had the use of a grand piano. In 1993, on the Wolf's 35th wedding anniversary, his gift to them was a small composition: Anniversary Tango for the Wolfs. André Singer spent the last year of his life at Calvary Hospice, and the Wolfs visited him daily. Singer kept writing music until the day before he died in 1996. George stayed at his bedside until minutes before he died.

Trio Artio was founded in Vienna in 2017 by the Austrian violinist Judith Fliedl, the German cellist Christine Roider and the Austrian pianist Johanna Estermann and is supervised by Stefan Mendl and Johannes Meissl at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. Each of the three young musicians can already look back individually on an extensive list of chamber music experience. Following a series of joint concerts in New York, Berlin, and Austria, they decided to embark on a musical future in the form of a piano trio. Within a year of its existence, the trio won 3rd prize at the Concorso Internazionale di Musica da Camera Massimiliano Antonelli (Latina, Italy) and the Yehudi Menuhin (Live Music Now) scholarship, and held numerous concert engagements in Austria. Trio Artio has had the opportunity to work with Hatto Beyerle, Miguel da Silva, Mathieu Herzog and Eberhard Feltz as part of masterclasses in Germany, as well as ECMA (European Chamber Music Academy) sessions in France, the Netherlands and the UK.

Susanne Korbel, Ph.D., is a researcher and lecturer at the Center for Jewish Studies, University of Graz (Austria). She specializes in Cultural Studies, Theater Studies, and Jewish History. She is about to publish her first book on "Jews, Mobility and Sex: Popular Entertainment between Vienna, Budapest and New York around 1900." She earned her Ph.D. in Cultural Studies and Contemporary History from the University of Graz with her thesis "Between Budapest, Vienna and New York. Jews and Popular Cultural Transformations around 1900". Dr. Korbel held fellowships with the Austrian Academic Exchange Service (OeAD) and the David-Herzog-Fonds in Budapest, Jerusalem, New York, Riga, Tübingen, and Vilnius and taught as visiting faculty at the Andrássy University Budapest.

Gerold Gruber is University Professor of Music at the Institute for Musicology at the MDW - University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, Austria. He is also the head of exil.arte, originally a non-profit research organization which since 2016 operates at the MDW as a center of study for the reception, preservation, performance, publication, and revival of suppressed European composers and musicians during the years of the Third Reich, with archival and exhibition facilities. Under his supervision exil.arte published a book series, beginning with The Impact of Nazism on Twentieth-Century Music (ed. Erik Levi, Böhlau Verlag, 2014). For his work with Austrian exile studies, Gruber received the "Golden Stars Award" given by the commission of the European Union (2009) as well as the Bank Austria Art Prize (2010), and the Innovation Prize of IG Kultur in Vienna (2014). From 2010 to 2013 he also led the project sponsored by the European Union entitled "Accentus Musicalis," a program in early music performance and research. His essays have appeared in numerous journals and collections. He is the editor of Arnold Schönberg, Interpretationen seiner Werke, 2 volumes(Laaber, 2002). Besides recent exile studies including composers like Wolfgang Fraenkel, Julius Schloss, Julius Bürger and others, Gruber is preparing a data base on the music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold as a basis for a Complete Edition of Korngold's works, including his film scores.





Trio Artio