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Originally a fortress complex, founded in the second half of the 18th century. It was comprised of the so-called Small Fortress (functioning as a military and political prison) and the Great Fortress (also called the Main Fortress), which included the town of Terezín. Until June 1942 there lived also a civilian population. In the autumn of 1941, the first transport of Jews from today’s Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark began to come to Terezín. Later, residents of Slovakia and Hungary were also interned here. New imprisonment was first placed in barracks, later, after the departure of the civilian population, the city was transformed into a ghetto that had the character of a labor and transit camp. During the war, Terezín passed 140,000 people, 90,000 of whom were sent east to the extermination camps. At the end of the war, 6,875 Jews from the Protectorate and about 240 of the territory occupied by the Czechoslovak border – the so-called Sudeten – survived in Terezín.

Ghetto Theresienstadt also has also links to the history of the first Czechoslovak Republic. Everything that led to the convergence of the German, and Czech and Jewish cultural communities was destroyed by the adoption of the Munich Treaty (1938) and the subsequent political events. Here, in Ghetto Theresienstadt, for a short time, this convergent culture developed and at the same time definitively disappeared.

A remarkable cultural life unfolded at the Ghetto Theresienstadt. It was a result not only to the SS commanders´ aspiration to keep calm among Terezín prisoners, but also of the propaganda cause. For prisoners, however, it was primarily an important tool for maintaining personal integrity in the conditions of camp life. The organizing of cultural events was carried out by the Freizeitgestaltung department (within so-called Jewish self-government). In that context, solo or chamber concerts, as well as the production of opera performances, accompanied by piano or chamber instrumental ensemble were organised. A number of skillful musicians and ensembles have contributed to these productions (e.g. pianists A. Sommerová-Herzová, B. Kaff, G. Klein, C. Taube, E. Steinerová-Krausová, K. Reiner, singers B. Borges, D. Grünfeld, W. Windholz, K. Berman, conductors K. Ančerl, F. E. Klein, R. Schächter, and chamber music e.g. Ledeč Quartet, Youth Quartet).

Terezín Composers

Terezín is associated with the fate of many important composers. Many of them formed and shaped the character of Central European pre-war avant-garde, which was born between Vienna, Berlin and Prague, while others developed promising talents only after their imprisonment. In the period between the wars, works of Terezín composers were played at the festival concerts of new music, after the war renowned performers have favorably included the works in their repertoire. Among the most prominent composers were Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944), Pavel Haas (1899-1944), Hans Krása (1899-1944) and Gideon Klein (1919-1945). In their production, besides domestic inspiration, it is possible to listen to the creative poetics of German Expressionism, NeoClassicism and French Modernism.

There were also other authors working in the painful setting of the Terezín ghetto, authors whose work is almost forgotten. Among them belong Egon Ledeč (1889-1944), Carlo Taube (1897-1944), Hans Winterberg (1901-1991), Sigmund Schul (1916-1944), Karel Reiner (1910-1979), Robert Dauber (1922- 1945) and Rudolf Karel (1889-1944 who died as a prisoner of the Gestapo police prison at Terezín’s Small Fortress).

Activities in 2017/2018

October 11, 2017

  • Call for papers for the conference of the Institute of Terezín Composers, August 2018.
  • Call for papers, materials and information.
  • Call for performances of musicians and lectures of experts for the events in Terezín in August 2018.

October 11, 2017

  • October 29, 2017 Concert in Terezín Gideon Klein, Piano Sonata Viktor Ullmann, Piano Sonata No. 7 Piano: Renan Koen

October 31, 2017

  • Institute of Terezín Composers, Introduction of the Institute of Terezín Composers at the B`nai B`rith Conference Gideon Klein, Piano Sonata Piano: Ivo Kahánek

February 26, 2018

  • Gala Night
  • Leoš Janáček, Po zarostlém chodníčku (On the overgrown walkway, selection from the first row) Gideon Klein, Piano Sonata
  • Piano: Ivo Kahánek
  • Mayor´s Residence, Prague

As of March 2018

  • The Institute of Terezín Composers is ready to host teachers, students and will be operational to provide organisational and scientific support

March 7, 2018

  • Concert in cooperation with THE MEMORIAL OF SILENCE to commemorate the anniversary of the extermination of the socalled Terezín Family Camp
  • P. Haas, G. Klein
  • Programme author: J. M. Procházka (bass-baritone) Praha-Bubny

April – June 2018

  • April – June 2018 Monthly: Twenty-minute radio broadcasts about the Terezin composers and a half-page article in the newspaper about Terezín composers

May 20, 2018

  • Terezín Remembrance Ceremony Two concerts of the music of the Terezin composers
  • Programme author: J. M. Procházka (bass-baritone)
  • Cinema Small Fortress
  • Soprano: I. Troupová, piano: J. Dušek Terezín Cultural House

August 19 – 26, 2018

  • Piano compositions by Terezín composers, piano: M. Kasík, K. Košárek
  • Compositions by V. Ullmann and G. Klein, piano: I. Kahánek, clarinet: Irvin Venyš
  • Compositions by V. Ullmann, P. Haas, H. Krása and others, soprano: I. Troupová, piano: J. Dušek
  • V. Ullmann, G. Klein, B. Martinů, piano: R.Koen
  • String trio and quartets, Wihan Quartet
  • Songs and compositions by V. Ullmann, H. Krása, G. Klein, bass-baritone: J. M. Procházka
  • L. Bernstein, G. Gershwin, A. Copland, E. W. Korngold, SOČR, conductor: Jan Kučera
  • B. Britten, A. Doráti, oboe: Vilém Veverka
  • G. Mahler, R. Wagner, D. Schostakowitsch, Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, conductor: L. Viotti, violoncello: Gautier Capuçon

August 20 – 25, 2018

400 young people in Terezín, lectures, musical matinées and festival concerts. Workshops and music master classes.

August 21 – 24, 2018

Academic conference Terezin composers: Art or History?

October 11, 2018

Opening concert of the 123rd season of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Rudolfinum Concert Hall, Praha

The main activities of the Institute will be: research, educational activities and projects, project of critical edition of the work, library, documentation center, yearbook, newsletter, services for members, academic conference (every two years), festival VĚČNÁ NADĚJE – close cooperation, lectures, courses of young people in Terezín

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