Project Description

Our project mission

is to perform works by Jewish composers who were driven out or murdered during the Nazi era.  Works banned from performance by the Nazis are also part of the repertoire.  There is a rich heritage of attractive works, which has vanished from German concert stages for seven decades, which we are determined to re-vitalize.  These compositions will, in our view, give concert audiences much pleasure, and also augment cultural understanding.

The composers performed represent three categories:

  • Composers who succeeded in fleeing Europe,
  • Composers who were murdered by the Nazis,
  • Composers of earlier times whose works were banned by the Nazis and/or labeled as „degenerate.“

Each of our programs

will present works from at least two of the categories, whenever possible from all three.  The string sinfonias by Mendelssohn are a staple, because  -  incredibly!  -  they are so rarely heard in Saxony.  We performed sinfonia #11 in F at our founding concert in November 2007; #12 in G minor was played at the concert celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel.  We would like to present the whole cycle over the next 3 seasons.

Excerpt from the address by Dr. Claus Dieter Heinze, board member

Given at the concert series opening on June 8 at the Dresden New Synagogue

Ladies and Gentlemen, honored guests,

(...)

Our Society for Funding the New Jewish Chamber Philharmonic was founded on November 1, 2007.  The founding concert took place on November 11, 2007.  On May 4 and 5, 2008 the orchestra participated in the festivities for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel.  Now the orchestra is making its 4th appearance, and tomorrow its fifth, at the Mendelssohn Museum in Leipzig.

I would like to welcome the Saxon Minister of Justice, Mr. Mackenroth, the Rector of the University of Music, Professor Gies, the vice president of the Saxon Culture Senate, Dr. Ohlau, the director of the music department at the Saxon State Library, Dr. Geck and the candidate for mayor from the Left Party, Mr. Sühl.  I welcome the members of the Saxon diet and of the municipal council, and the members of the press.

I greet Mrs. Aris from the Jewish community in Chemnitz, and Pastor Reimann, chairman of the fund drive for the construction of the Dresden synagogue.  (...)

I would like especially to greet the members of the Dresden Jewish community and would like to take this opportunity to thank the community for their logistic support.

In a few moments we will hear, under Michael Hurshell’s baton,  compositions by musicians of Jewish descent who, in the thirties, were victimized by the national socialist, anti-Semitic policies, and were forced to flee, or were banned, or were murdered.

(...)

Today we can only speculate what works may have been created by these composers, influenced by the great musical movements of their time, had they not suffered the tragic fate which uprooted them from their home, or ended their lives.

Further concerts are planned for September in celebration of the Jewish New Year, including music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and in November, commemorating the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, including music by Ernest Bloch.

(...)

Today, a lost part of European musical heritage will be presented by the members of the New Jewish Chamber Philharmonic, whom I wish to earnestly thank for their commitment.  We, the board members, hope that the aim of the organization, which is to prevent these works from being lost forever, is achieved by such performances.

I wish to thank Michael Hurshell, the artistic director and member of the board, for his initiative, particularly in organizing the founding concert last fall at very short notice.

We shall continue this work of restoring Europe’s cultural memory, in order to give the banned composers a permanent forum.

We are most grateful that the previous 3 concerts, as well as the concerts today and tomorrow in Leipzig, were made possible through generous support from abroad and from Germany, from grants made by the municipality of Dresden and by the Association of Jewish Communities in Saxony.

However, we need additional donations, the help of sponsors, continued and permanent support from the city and support from the state.  Meetings with the representatives of city and state have taken place and are being continued, in order to secure the financing of this culturally significant project over an extended time period.