by Magda Katz


On March 30,. 2016, Judith Clurman’s Essential Voices USA, one of New York’s preeminent choral ensembles, presented as part of Essential Voices USA’s “The Composer Speaks” programs,  Austrian Emigres: Schoenberg, Von Trapp and the Power of Music, At  DiMenna space for Classical Music. Judith Clurman conducted Essential Voices USA with Tedd Firth, piano, Maureen McKay, soprano, and Joseph Beutel, bass-baritone. Panel members discussing the music of  Schoenberg and Rodgers and Hammerstein included telephonically  from  Los Angeles, Larry  Schoenberg, son of the composer, Elisabeth Von Trapp, granddaughter of the legendary Maria and Baron von Trapp; musical theater luminaries Ted Chapin, David Chase, and Larry Hochman,  with moderator Naomi Lewin.


The program  explored the stories of two Austrian emigres whose experiences have been captured in important musical compositions. In 1947, with the sight and sounds of war ringing in his ears, Arnold Schoenberg composed Survivor from Warsaw as a tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. Twelve years later, the team of Rodgers and Hammerstein recreated the experience of the Von Trapp family in the iconic musical The Sound of Music.


Photos/Video: Magda Katz