Forbidden Music: Master Class and Concerts

A project by Christian Gracza, Yvonne Meyer, and Ulrike Plüschke

Host organizations: Lenau House, Cultural Association Borussia, and Edith-Stein-Haus

October 2008, Wrocław und Olsztyn (Poland)

By 2008, Poland and Hungary had already been members of the European Union for four years. The project Forbidden Music asked how this affected the younger generation of artists and their possibilities for intercultural dialog. The idea behind the project was to give young Polish, Hungarian, and German musicians a platform to use art to communicate their European cultural heritage. The organizers have been advocating for the examination of European cultural heritage for years; "Forbidden Music" initiated and attempted an artistic approach to the topic in the context of music in the 20th century.

The project "Forbidden Music" consisted of several elements, with music as the key to examining European thought. The project was based on the program with the same name by Hungarian cellist Péter Szabó and the Paris-based Polish pianist Frédéric Vaysse-Knitter. They arranged, amongst others, pieces by Erich Korngold, Alexandre Tansman, Czaba Szabó, and Kurt Weill for the piano and the cello - composers who were persecuted and discriminated against by the state because of their ancestry or political leanings.

During master classes headed by Szabó and Vaysse-Knitter in Olsztyn, the young musicians not only had the opportunity to work on their repertoires, but they also had a chance to get to know each other and to network. In the public part of the project, the program was presented in two concerts in the Oratorium Marianum at the University of Wrocław and in the great hall of the Warmian-Masurian Philharmonic in Olsztyn. The musicians briefly introduced the composers to the young audience. The personable artists and the high artistic level were inspiring and drew a total of almost 400 listeners for European chamber music in the 20th century.

With support from: Warmish-Masurian Philharmonic "Feliks Nowowiejski" and the Staatliche Musikschule "Frederyk Chopin," Olsztyn, Friends of Borussia Olsztyn e.V., Leipzig, Robert Bosch Stiftung, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Breslau and Danzig, French Consulate General in Krakow