Award-Winning Soprano Alexis Rodda to Feature Exiled Composers at Concert in February
01/16/2020

On Tuesday, February 18, 2020, award-winning soprano Alexis Rodda will give a concert, Out of Exile, featuring the works of composers exiled by the Nazis.

Online PR News – 16-January-2020 – New York, New York – Award-Winning Soprano Alexis Rodda to Feature Exiled Composers at Concert in February

On Tuesday, February 18, 2020, award-winning soprano Alexis Rodda will give a concert, Out of Exile, featuring the works of composers exiled by the Nazis. The program will feature the vocal works of Egon Lustgarten, Vally and Karl Weigl, Alma Mahler, and Ernst Krenek. The concert will also feature the world premiere of a new song cycle by contemporary composer Dr. Patrick Finley, entitled Two Emily Brontë Songs.

Many of the vocal works by composer Egon Lustgarten have never been heard before by modern audiences. Lustgarten was a scholar, composer, and musician born in Vienna, Austria in 1887. It was written of him in the Musikalischer Kurier of the time: “In his works are to be found the highest impulsivity and abundance of fancy, restrained by an extraordinary power of concentration, a most determined sense for construction, and a superior government over all technical matters.”

However, his thriving musical career in Vienna was interrupted by the rise of the fascist Nazi regime. Though not spiritually Jewish, his Jewish heritage meant that under the Nuremberg Laws, he and his family were in danger of violence perpetrated by the Nazis. He emigrated to New York, where he struggled with poverty and obscurity until his death in 1961. Gregorij von Leitis and Michael Lahr, of Elysium Between Continents and the Lahr von Leitis Academy and Archive, have long advocated for more attention to Lustgarten’s works, and produced the first production of Lustgarten’s grand opera, Dante im Exil.

Lustgarten’s works are now housed in the Lahr von Leitis Archive at the exil.arte Zentrum in Vienna, Austria. On a Fulbright grant from Fulbright Austria, soprano Alexis Rodda has been working in the archive to discover and revitalize the musical work by this forgotten composer. The majority of the other composers featured are also émigré composers, forced out of thriving musical careers in Vienna due to their Jewish heritage or connection with someone of Jewish heritage (for example, Alma Mahler fled with her Jewish husband, Franz Werfel.) Composer Dr. Patrick Finley is the only contemporary composer featured, having written Two Emily Brontë Songs specifically for Rodda based on his knowledge of the soprano’s voice.

The concert will take place at Elebash Hall at the CUNY Graduate Center at 7:30 PM at 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York. Admission is free.