Posting Date: November 4, 2011

Guest lecturer, Rachel Bergman, to discuss music in the Holocaust

Her two-day visit will highlight the work of Viktor Ullmann

For media inquiries: Cheryl Anderson Brown, Director of Public Relations,
770-499-3417 or


Rachel Bergman

Associate Professor of Music Theory

George Mason University


KENNESAW, Ga.—On Nov. 28 and 29, Kennesaw State University will host Rachel Bergman, associate professor of music theory at George Mason University, for a series of presentations on the role of music during the Holocaust. Bergman is a renowned scholar of Viktor Ullmann, a Holocaust-era composer who spent the last two years of his life in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Her lecture, "Creativity in Captivity: Viktor Ullmann's Theresienstadt Works," will be on Nov. 28 from 2–3:15 p.m. in Social Sciences room 2027.

In addition to her lecture, Bergman will coach two KSU chamber ensembles and deliver the introduction for their concert including works written by composers affected by the Holocaust. The concert is scheduled for Nov. 29, 8 p.m. in the Performance Hall of the Dr. Bobbie Bailey & Family Performance Center.

“By looking at the lives of musicians, one gets a unique perspective of the Holocaust,” explains KSU composer-in-residence Laurence Sherr. “Music is more universal than words. It can communicate things that are beyond other means.”

The concert will feature selected movements from Viktor Ullmann’s String Quartet No. 3 and Erwin Schulhoff’s Concertino. String Quartet No. 3 was composed during Ullmann’s imprisonment and was premiered by musicians in the camp. A student of Arnold Schoenberg, Ullmann adopted some of Schoenberg’s atonal techniques but wrote in an expressionistic style that was influenced by tonality. Sherr says this piece was selected because it “is representative of the kinds of serious works that were being written by composers in Theresienstadt and other concentration camps.”

Like Ullmann, Schulhoff continued to compose music during his imprisonment in Wulzburg concentration camp. The Concertino, written before his imprisonment, is a work for flute, viola and bass with some jazz influences.

Sherr hopes Bergman’s visit will help students, and guests, gain insight into the music of the Holocaust by exploring the artistic legacy of the composers and musicians who lived during that period. “It is important for students to be exposed to leading scholars in their fields. It enriches the learning experience when we bring in guest artists and scholars who are specialized and at the top of their profession."

The Nov. 28 lecture and the Nov. 29 concert are free and open to the public.


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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 80 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing, and a Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of more than 24,100 students from 142 countries.

The KSU College of the Arts is one of only four Georgia institutions to have achieved full national accreditation for all of its arts departments.


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