On 18 April 2019, on the eve of the 76th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra under the baton of Gabriel Chmura will perform at the POLIN Museum’s auditorium. They will pay tribute to the musicians from the Warsaw ghetto.
Lauren Zhang, a 16-year old laureate of the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, will play the grand piano. The concert featuring pieces by Mozart, Schubert and Wajnberg is to commemorate the Jewish Symphony Orchestra and its exceptional soloist, Josima Feldschuh.
The Jewish Symphony Orchestra performed in the ghetto in the years 1941-1942. It consisted of Jewish musicians who before the war had been employed by the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Warsaw Opera or the Polish Radio Orchestra. At its peak, the Jewish Orchestra boasted ca eighty musicians. Among the conductors of symphony concerts were: Adam Furmański, Marian Neuteich, Szymon Pullman and Izrael Hammerman. On 15 March 1941, the Jewish Orchestra gave a concert featuring pieces by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Schubert. 11-year old pianist Josima Feldschuh was the soloist. Alas, despite the successful action of leading the girl out of the ghetto in 1943, she soon died of tuberculosis. Her notebook where she had used to jot down her compositions survived the war and today is part of the Yad Vashem Institute collection
In the second part of the concert we will listen to Chamber Symphony No. 4 by Mieczysław Wajnberg – the last piece he managed to complete before his passing in 1994. The symphony is a unique testament in which one can hear the echoes of Jewish music, the atrocities of war, the life in Stalinist Russia and the hope for the future.