Julia Broido
musicologist and producer
...Throughout all my professional life, one theme has haunted me - Music and the Holocaust. From an early age I played violin, listened to Alexander Galich, read Janusz Korczak and adored Shostakovich:
I believed his music was the most 'Jewish' music ever...
My MA thesis's title is
"Jewish Theme in Weinberg's Music: Opera Mazel Tov"
(2001, St Petersburg State Conservatory)
But then at the conservatory I 'met' with another Soviet composer who became my hero for years. At the end of the 20th century his name was not as popular as now. Russian musicians were thrilled to discover forbidden modernist music, and Mieczysław Weinberg was a traditionalist.
He wrote 27 symphonies, 7 operas, dozens of chamber works. He was the author of the soundtrack for the only Soviet film to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival - The Cranes Are Flying (Mosfilm, 1957), directed by Mikhail Kalatozov. He also wrote music for Winnie-the-Pooh animated film (Soyuzmultfilm, 1969), very famous and beloved by Soviet children.
His opera Mazel Tov (1975) was based on Sholem Aleichem and could be recognized as a Jewish opera on a Jewish story.
Mieczysław Weinberg (1919 - 1996)
Weinberg's fate is worthy of a dramatic novel. He was born in Warsaw to a Jewish family. His father was a well-known composer and conductor of the Yiddish theatre, he moved to Poland from Chisinau, where some of his relatives were killed during the Chisinau pogrom. His mother came from Odessa and was an actress.
Weinberg started a brilliant career as a pianist in Warsaw but in 1939 he had to flee the Nazi occupation. His entire family - parents and younger sister Esther - died in one of the concentration camps in 1943.

In the Soviet Union Weinberg first settled in Minsk, then - when the WWII came to the Soviet territory - moved to Tashkent and in 1943 - thanks to Shostakovich - to Moscow. "It was as if I had been born anew", - Weinberg said of his meeting with Shostakovich. Another very important meeting took place in Tashkent: the composer met his future wife, the daughter of Solomon Mikhoels, a great actor and a leader of the State Jewish Theatre and Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee. A few years later, Mikhoels will be murdered on Stalin's personal order and his cousin Miron Vovsi will become one of the main defendants in the so-called "Doctors' plot". And the composer himself did not escape prison.

Not surprisingly, Weinberg's music is marked by a tragic sound and is permeated with Jewish and Polish intonations.
Zoen mit a regn
Sun and rain (2004-2006)
In 2004 I met Dutch soprano Sofie van Leer who was interested in Weinberg Jewish songs. We worked with her on one of the first performances of these 2 cycles, that were written during the WWII. One of the concerts of her project Zoen met a regn took place in St Petersburg with my lecture. It was a gift of The Amsterdam Jewish Music Projects Foundation to the Centennial Celebration for Dmitri Shostakovich.

"Weinberg’s Jewish songs were not easy to find. Through the Weinberg authority Per Skans, the singer and organizer Sofie van Lier came across the musicologist Julia Broido, who had recently finished her studies on Jewish themes in Weinberg’s music, and was thus able to lay hands on the scores".
ICSM Online Journal
Weinberg at the Mariinsky theater:
2016 Idiot (dir. A. Stepanyuk)
2018 Mazel Tov! (concert version)
The next time I turned to Weinberg's music 10 years later. In 2016, under the patronage of the Bolshoi Theater, preparations began for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Weinberg. Theaters in Moscow and Yekaterinburg announced the premiere of Weinberg's operas. The Mariinsky Theater decided to stage his Idiot as the most associated with St. Petersburg. In 2017 International forum Weinberg. A Re-Discovery was held in Moscow and I took part in it. I spoke about Mazel Tov! again and next year (2018) I was lucky to initiate its performance at the Mariinsky.
Weinberg 100
Birthday concert at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre (December, 8, 2019)
With young St Petersburg musicians (the eldest of them was 13 y.o.) we prepared the birthday concert where we performed the Weinberg's works that were written for youth - Jewish (Children's) songs op. 13 and a few fragments from Children's Notebooks. Nobody could call Weinberg's Sonatina for violin and piano childish but it was also performed by young and talented Anya Zilberbord. We also remembered Weinberg's music to cartoons.

The next day with soprano Nadezhda Drobyshevskaya we performed the second book of Jewish songs - op. 17 - in the frames of the International Weinberg Conference.

...Working at the Mariinsky theatre as a Director of the Production Department I met stage director Mstislav Pentkovsky who proposed the theatre to stage Hans Krása's opera Brundibar. And the new chapter of my lifelong story called Music and the Holocaust began...
In 2017-2021, our Brundibar was staged 12 times at the Mariinsky Theatre, several times in Vladikavkaz and once in Tallinn: in total, more than 500 children took part in it.
Together with Mr Pentkovsky we realized a few very important projects dedicated to this topic. Most of them we made for kids and teens and with an active participation of kids and teens:
Not only Brundibar by Hans Krása but also Grigori Frid's opera monologue The Diary of Anne Frank and the concert program Music from the Concentration Camp - Music of Hope. In the pandemic of 2020, we made an Instagram project based on Frid's The Diary of Anne Frank and the diaries of other girls who shared Anne's fate - @annesmusicdiary.
My programs for Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre, Moscow include
Music in Exile dedicated to World Refugee Day
Concert of Chizhik Jazz Quartet
Original jazz compositions inspired by the music of Chopin, Rachmaninov, Stravinsky, Weinberg, Imre Kalman, Kurt Weill and other musicians who worked in exile.

Music programs of the commemorative ceremonies of the The Holocaust Remembrance Day (2023, 2020).

Forbidden Music Regained Project
Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre Moscow, 2023
The Diary of Anne Frank
Concert version 2023 (Paris)
The Diary of Anne Frank
Mariinsky Theatre Production 2017
Music from the Concentration Camps
Produced for the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre 2020
Production of the Mariinsky Theatre 2017
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