Das Projekt ‚Kofflers Schicksal: Die Goldberg-Variationen‘

The project 'Koffler's Fate: The Goldberg Variations'

In the 2023-24 season , Koffler's Fate: The Goldberg Variations, the largest project in the now 18-year history of the JEWSH CHAMBER ORCHESTRA MUNICH, is on our concert schedule. In a total of 14 concerts across Germany and one concert in Budapest, conductor Daniel Grossmann presents an evening that deals with the life and work of the Polish-Jewish composer Józef Koffler.

It is important to the artistic director of the JCOM to also present the artists who we are rediscovering today mainly in the context of the tragic circumstances of their deaths, in their lives before the Holocaust. Józef Koffler spent the first 35 years of his life very successfully: he was a respected composer who was played by well-known performers and received a professorship at the Lviv University of Music at the age of 32. It was not until the mid-1930s that political events in Europe overshadowed Koffler's work. With the Soviet occupation of Poland in 1939 and the invasion of the German Wehrmacht in 1941, he was first banned from working, then interned in the Krakow ghetto and finally murdered.

In the first part of the concert evening, Daniel Grossmann introduces the life of Józef Koffler, then Koffler's String Trio op. 10 will be heard in a new arrangement for chamber orchestra by Nicolas Hersh. One of the project's concerns is to bring Koffler's work out of oblivion. But Koffler's fate does not want to be a pure 'memory concert': in the second half of the concert, the music is accompanied by excerpts from Koffler's orchestration of the famous Goldberg Variations by Johann Sebastian Bach - a new text by the German-Jewish author and dramaturge Stella Leder. Spoken by actress Jelena Kuljic, the text deals with the possibilities and limits of remembering using highlights from Koffler's story, which exemplifies many artists murdered in the Holocaust. What does it mean to remember a composer murdered in the Holocaust in Germany in 2023? How do we convey knowledge about the Holocaust that goes beyond pure numbers when contemporary witnesses can no longer report? How do the descendants of the perpetrators and the victims meet today? Jelena Kuljic addresses the audience and draws attention to the present.

“This openness, which on the one hand remains unmistakable but at the same time forces the listener to engage in their own debate, is a strength of this evening, which is not limited to the memory of a forgotten Jewish composer. Grossmann, Leder and dramaturg Martin Valdés-Stauber honor Koffler's works as artistic material to use and convey to today's audience how present the difficult past remains. And that may be more sustainable than simply going back to business as usual with false emotion. “ writes Robert Braunmüller in the Münchner Abendzeitung on the premiere of Koffler’s Fate: The Goldberg Variations in November 2023.

Further concert dates can be found here in the concert calendar .

The Kofflers Destiny project is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media as part of the funding program ' Excellent Orchestra Landscape Germany ' and will tour through Germany in 2023 and 2024. A particular focus is on performances for schoolchildren and students. The project was created in cooperation with the Münchner Kammerspiele and the artistic research field of memory as work on the present.

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