The Orchestra Now
Exodus: Jewish Composers in Exile
The Orchestra Now
Leon Botstein conductor
Exodus (U.S. premiere)
An Indian Symphony (U.S. premiere)
Symphony No. 4, Dies irae
Leon Botstein and The Orchestra Now perform rarely heard works by Jewish composers written while they were in exile from their homelands during World War II.
Renowned Polish composer Alexandre Tansman fled Europe for the United States in 1941, and his rhythmic Polish Rhapsody—inspired by the invasion of Poland and dedicated “to the defenders of Warsaw”—was premiered in St. Louis that same year. Prolific composer Josef Tal emigrated to Jerusalem in 1934, and his dramatic Exodus, based on the Passover Haggadah, was debuted by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra during the first days of that country’s War of Independence. Walter Kaufmann was one of many Jewish refugees who found a haven in India, where he lived for 14 years and wrote his Indian Symphony. Viennese composer Marcel Rubin fled first to France and then to Mexico, which is where he wrote his melancholy Symphony No. 4, Dies irae, reflecting his experiences during the Second World War.
Hear this program at the Fisher Center just days before TŌN performs it at Carnegie Hall.
Leon Botstein is founder and music director of The Orchestra Now (TŌN), music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra (ASO), artistic codirector of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival, and conductor laureate and principal guest conductor of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (JSO), where he served as music director from 2003 to 2011. He has been guest conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre, Russian National Orchestra in Moscow, Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, Taipei Symphony, Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, and Sinfónica Juvenil de Caracas in Venezuela, among others. In 2018, he assumed artistic directorship of Campus Grafenegg and Grafenegg Academy in Austria.
Recordings include acclaimed recordings of Othmar Schoeck’s Lebendig begraben with TŌN, Hindemith’s The Long Christmas Dinner with the ASO, a Grammy-nominated recording of Popov’s First Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra, and other various recordings with TŌN, ASO, the London Philharmonic, NDR Orchestra Hamburg, and JSO, among others. He is editor of The Musical Quarterly and author of numerous articles and books, including The Compleat Brahms (Norton), Jefferson’s Children (Doubleday), Judentum und Modernität (Bölau), and Von Beethoven zu Berg (Zsolnay). Honors include Harvard University’s prestigious Centennial Award; the American Academy of Arts and Letters award; and Cross of Honor, First Class, from the government of Austria, for his contributions to music. Other distinctions include the Bruckner Society’s Julio Kilenyi Medal of Honor for his interpretations of that composer’s music, the Leonard Bernstein Award for the Elevation of Music in Society, and Carnegie Foundation’s Academic Leadership Award. In 2011, he was inducted into the American Philosophical Society.
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