Major upcoming international concert will see world premiere of music rescued from the concentration camps.
Music composed in the Nazi concentration camps will be played to a public audience for the very first time, at an extraordinary international concert.
Italian composer Professor Francesco Lotoro has made it his life’s work to track down and orchestrate the written and oral pieces composed by prisoners in the Nazi concentration camps, salvaging over 8,000 musical works from around the world over the past three decades.
On April 15th 2018, Lotoro will conduct the JNF UK Notes of Hope concert in Jerusalem - the debut public recital of a selection of the rescued works, led by the world renowned Ashdod Symphony Orchestra.
The concert is being staged by leading Jewish charity JNF UK both to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel and to raise awareness of increasing levels of global antisemitism and holocaust denial. Anti-Semitic incidents increased by 30% in the UK alone in 2017, while global Holocaust denial is also on the rise.
Children from two musical schools funded by JNF UK on the peripheries of Southern Israel – many of whom lost relatives during the Holocaust - will also be performing alongside the Ashdod Symphony Orchestra at the concert.
Behind every featured piece is a story of suffering and resilience. While working as a nurse at the Theresienstadt concentration camp, the famous Jewish musician Ilse Weber taught a melody to the camp’s young children. When Weber’s husband was deported to Auschwitz in 1944, she voluntarily transferred to the camp with their young son in an attempt to keep the family together. Both were however gassed upon arrival.
The melody was never written down or recorded, but over 70 years later one of the Theresienstadt children Weber treated - Aviva Bar-On - will sing the piece from memory for the first time since the war.
Other pieces include Tatata by Willy Rosen and Max Ehrlich. Just before their deportation from Westerbork to Auschwitz, where both were murdered, Rosen and Ehrlich managed to smuggle a folder of their manuscripts out of the camp. Decades later, the folder was discovered in an attic in the Netherlands, about to be thrown away.
The various pieces, which will be performed in Hebrew, Yiddish, German, Czech and Romani, were composed by inmates of a number of camps, including Auschwitz, Theresienstadt and Westerbork.
The concert will also symbolically fall on the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen. Attendees will include the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, world dignitaries and Holocaust survivors.
Professor Francesco Lotoro, composer, said:
“The compositions from the concentration camps are a world heritage, a legacy to those artists who despite losing their freedom - in the most unimaginable circumstances - persevered through their music.
“Through the Notes of Hope concert, we are striving to both restore life and dignity to these artists, and - thanks to JNF UK and the next generation of young musicians - look forward, with hope, to the future.”
Dr Michael Sinclair, Vice Chairman, JNF UK said:
“JNF UK is delighted to be staging the Notes of Hope concert. We have a proud history of supporting youth in the Negev, and are thrilled that the concert is providing students from the JNF UK-supported Bikurim Performing Arts School and the Yerucham Conservatory with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“With global antisemitism on the rise, the concert is a timely and powerful reminder of both the need to counter hatred and discrimination in all its forms, and the enduring defiance and hope of the Jewish people.”