Welcome to the website of orpheus.news, the successors' organization of Orpheus Trust




Review of the activities of orpheus.news 2016

It was with great sadness that we learned our friend, honorary president of the Orpheus Trust, Moshe Jahoda, M.A. (14 May 1926 Vienna – 18 October 2016 Tel Mond, Israel), had passed away. Next to his professional activities as the Austrian Representative of the Claims Conference - Conference on Jewish Material Claims against  Germany, as a cousin of Viennese-born composer Fritz / Fred Spielman(n) he dedicated himself wholeheartedly to the special objectives of the Orpheus Trust. Together with his other cousin, Walter Mark Gregory, and the Vienna Arts Councellor, Dr. Peter Marboe, he founded the Fritz Spielmann Fund of the Orpheus Trust, which has supported numerous scientists and musicians with grants for their research projects and music revival activities. His dedication to justice will continue to guide us.

With Yitzchak/ Eduard Barsam (7 March 1922 Vienna – 3 January 2016 Haifa) one of the last exiled composers from Vienna has passed away.  Another obituary refers to politician and sports official Alfred Gerstl (3 July 1923 Graz – 15 November 2016 Graz), who in his youth earned a living as a singer.

Organizational structure

During 2016, orpheus.news initiated a generation change.  At the suggestion of Primavera Driessen Gruber, former employees and interns of the Orpheus Trust were coopted as Board members of orpheus.news. At the General Assembly of November 2016 Mag. Sabine Reiter (Secretary General of MICA-music austria) and Dr. Judith Deak (Wiener Konzerthaus, at present on maternity leave) have been confirmed and elected as treasurer and secretary of orpheus.news. Mag. Lisa Farthofer–Schmidt (at present on maternity leave and music therapy studies, before that at the Wiener Konzerthaus), was elected as a member of the Board of Advisors. Together with our pleasant anticipation of new ideas to be realized by this younger generation, we feel grateful towards the parting Board members, who in weal and woe have stood together. We are happy that they will continue to share their experience as members of the Board of Advisors.

The website of orpheus.news was completely actualized by Primavera Driessen Gruber. During the year the draft for the finding aids for the archive of the Orpheus Trust at the Archive of the Academy of the Arts in Berlin was revised, so the inventory can be searched online now.

In January, on the occasion of the International Holocaust-Memorial Day Primavera Driessen Gruber was invited by the Israeli Permanent Mission to the UN to participate in a public talk in connection with the screening  of the documentary film ‚The Return oft he Violin’ (IL 2012) as part of the film festival ‚this human world’. In November, she attended the ceremony in honour of music ethnologist Simha Arom in Düsseldorf during the Memorial Days of the November pogroms 1938 as his guest. Simha Arom was honoured by the Ciry of Düsseldorf Stadt Düsseldorf and Representatives of the Federal State Nordrhein-Westfalen and visited various schools as a contemorary witness. The premiere of the German version of the film, ‚Simha’ by Jerôme Blumberg took place at the Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Düsseldorf. In December, on the invitation of Karin Wagner she participated with Marie-Theres Arnbom in a public talk on Richard Tauber for Dorf-TV in Linz.

News from individual Board members

Reinhard Kapp upon retirement as Professor of the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna has recieved the emeritus status. He recently edited a conference report „Viennese School and Early Music“ and is working on further publications referring to music professionals, persecuted during nazism (René Leibowitz, Arnold Schoenberg, Leopold Spinner, Hans Swarowsky, Josef Trauneck).

The Toulouse conference ‚Soma Morgenstern – Von Galizien ins amerikanische Exil’, initiated by Heinz Lunzer and Victoria Lunzer-Talos had an indirect follow-up: Soma Morgenstern’s son, jazz historian Dan Morgenstern, came to Vienna to attend the unveiling of a memorial stone, initiated by Georg Deutsch, at Morgenstern’s last Vienna address in Belvedèregasse in Vienna’s fourth district.
Primavera Driessen Gruber continues her work on an ‚Austrian Biographical Dictionary of Music Professionals, persecuted during Nazisme, due to be published in fall 2018. By the end of 2016 6,700 persecuted musicians  and about 20,000 compositions had been documented.
Our congratulations go to Gerhard Scheit, who was awarded the Theodor Kramer Prize for Writing in Exile and Resistance 2016.

Transfer of knowledge and longlasting networks

Pupils of the Musikmittelschule Wiener Neustadt, who in 2015 during the Filmdays at the Metro KinoKulturhaus of the Austrian Society for Exile Studies (öge) had come to know Shoah-survivor Greta Klingsberg and had invited her to the school, performed, in cooperation with the Josef Matthias Hauer-Musikschule Wiener Neustadt, Hans Krása’s children’s opera Brundibár. In November, a film by Arno Aschauer about this project was screened during the Jewish Film Festival Vienna.

Primavera Driessen Gruber with thanks to Susan Cohen-Ungar (English translation)

Review of the activities of orpheus.news 2014

In 2014 the website was complimented by new headings like Books, Music and Call for Papers. Former yearly reports were added and some of the musicians' biographies - some quite outdated, still from the website of Orpheus Trust -   were actualized on both websites.  The event agenda was considerably enlarged and illustrates  - now also under the heading 'Retrospect' -  how music persecuted by nazisme recaptures its appropriate space. We feel especially committed to smaller music organizers, staging lesser known music. In addition our focus lies on scientific undertakings and events entitled to national education premises, suitable to contextualize the persecutions in music within the history of nazisme in Europe. The common European heritage of antisemitisme can only be overcome by our common efforts, one of the reasons for the international outlook of our website. As the weekly update of the event agenda up to now has been done manually and the period of validity of the heading  ‚Retrospect’ was rather restricted, we had to engage again in fundraising for the required adjustment. Thanks to the generous and anonymous help of a few sponsors we can launch this enterprise in the first months of 2015. With this technical relaunch it will take less time to actualize the agenda and make the task of the 'content manager' easier.
So we still hope for your cooperation: please send us your announcements and continue to support our work by placing a link on your website. Alos financial support is very welcome! Aur banking details: Erste Bank, Verein orpheus.news
IBAN: AT82 2011 1296 3098 6000; BIC: GIBAATWWXXX

Cooperations of individual Board members with other organisations or persons sometimes had surprising consequences: contact with book editor Sonja Frank not only led to the inclusion of a short CV of Norbert Brainin in the 2nd edition of her book ‚Young Austria’, it also contributed to the dedication of a honorary grave of the City of Vienna at the Vienna Central Cemitary for Erwin Weiss, former director of the Vienna Konservatoriums, on the initiative of Sonja Frank

Primavera Driessen Gruber participated upon the invitation of Dr. Peter Stachel in a panel discussion of the International Conference ‚Carl-Goldmark (1830-1915)’ in  Vienna (see Retrospect). The fate of Goldmarks succesful opera ‚The Queen of Saba’, disappeared since 1938 from the repertory of the Vienna State Opera, shows how exhaustive and lasting the suppression by national socialisme has been. Another stroll into aspects somewhat aside of her main working field took oplace when Primavera a paper during the European Social Science History Conference 2014 in Vienna in the framework of the ‚oral history-network’, in which she followed the entangled courses of 'research by random', while investigating the fate of musicians, persecuted by nazisme, illustrated by the genesis of Orpheus Trust and orpheus.news. The offer of a British publisher, to enlarge the paper to a book unfortunately had to be postponed, as research for the ‚Austrian Biographical Dictionary of Musicians persecuted by Nazisme’ still takes most of her working time. As looking back also means being confronted with plans that failed to be realized, here is the right place to mention the delay in completing this enormous project. Another year, another deadline, but still: by the end of 2014 it contained over 5.850 entries of these persecuted musicians with an Austrian background and 17.500 of their compositions.

An overview of publications of orpheus.news-members Reinhard Kapp, Victoria Lunzer-Talos, Heinz Lunzer, Gerhard Scheit and Primavera Driessen Gruber in 2014 can be found under ‚Publications’; amongst them also a kind of in-between-report on the inventarisation of the musical estate of pianist Susi Lansky-Fischer. A monography on this Auschwitz-survivor had to be postponed too until the co-authors have completed other projects. The anthology of the Österreichischen Gesellschaft für Exilforschung‚ Exilforschung: Österreich. Leistungen, Defizite & Perspektiven (co-editor Primavera Driessen Gruber) will appear in 2015.

Colleagues are stil sending research requests, which as far as possible are being answered: Christoph Schwandt asked for the orchestra material of Jaromir Weinbergers Frühlingsstürme, Martin Anderson for biographical dates of Alfred Blumen and Hans Karg-Bebenburg, Nicole Ristow for Joseph Trauneck and Jean-Guy Boisvert came from Canada to Vienna to do research on Ferdinand Rebay. As Rebays status as a victim of nazisme is still controversial, the results of Boisvert's research will be very helpful. Another example of transcontinental networking and exchange of information took place with CD-producer Simon Wynberg.

Werner Grünzweig, director of the music archives of the Academy of the Arts in Berlin is reporting regularly about requests to the Orpheus Trust -Archives, especially scores and sheet music. The draft of the finding aids for the Orpheus Trust-Archive will be proofread during the weeks to come; during a short stay in Berlin in November Primavera Driessen Gruber was able to eliminate some lacks of clarity  referring to recordings and other archive materials. With that the final completion is on its way and the internal electronic catalogue  will be activated. The bigger part of the hand library was handed over to the Library of the Academy, as it will be lendable there, but the books stay together under its heading Hand Library of  Orpheus Trust. A smaller part still is in Vienna, waiting for the finalization of the 'Austrian Biographical Dictionary'.

Also last year we had to say goodbye to some exiled music professionals or Shoah-survivors in music, such as conductor Julius Rudel from New York, 110 years old pianist Alice Herz-Sommer from London and operetta singer Fred Raymond Horton, passed away in Vienna. Maestro Julius Rudel, who specially returned to Vienna as the conductor of the Opening Concert of the sound installation ‚Orpheus.Klangwege’ at the Vienna Museumsquartier and who got so involved in our work, will be missed particularly.

But their legacy continues!  We are looking forward to a busy and copious year, and with this we are wishing our visitors and supporters all the best for an equally happy and proliferous 2015

Primavera Driessen Gruber
for the Board of the Association orpheus.news



Eric (Erich) Zeisl




last change webmaster: peter andritsch, [web@andritsch.at]  design by: fox