Portrait of Józef Koffler

Music: Kofflers Schicksal: Die Goldberg-Variationen

Jewish Chamber Orchestra Munich

 Schauspielhaus
 Opening night: 12.11.2023
 Schauspielhaus
 Opening night: 12.11.2023

Together with the author Stella Leder, the Jewish Chamber Orchestra Munich will link the questioning of German memory culture with a concrete fate on this evening. The focus is on the work and life of Józef Koffler. Largely forgotten, his music is now to be heard again.

Józef Koffler was born in 1896 in Stryj (Poland, today: Ukraine). He studied composition in Vienna and enjoyed success as a composer. At the age of 32 he already held the only professorship for atonal composition in Poland in Lemberg. After the Wehrmacht invaded eastern Poland in 1941, Koffler was arrested with his wife and a few-year-old son and taken to the Wieliczka ghetto. After the ghetto was dissolved in 1943, he hid with his wife and young son in various places, but was tracked down by the Gestapo in 1944 and the family was shot on the outskirts of an unknown village.

The evening begins with Koffler’s masterpieces, op. 10 String Trio, in a new arrangement for chamber orchestra. Following this, performer and singer Jelena Kuljić joins to address the silencing and artistic rupture in Koffler’s work: Under psychological pressure from the rise of Nazism in Germany as well as Stalinist purges in the USSR, Józef Koffler stopped composing in the mid-1930s and instead arranged works by others. He is best known for his arrangements of the Goldberg Variations. Just as Koffler’s own artistic voice disappears behind the work of Bach, Jelena Kuljić struggles to find a language. The texts she speaks break into fragments, interrupt the music played by the orchestra, or are drowned out by the music. The Jewish Chamber Orchestra plays Koffler’s score, but between the individual variations come new adaptations that pick apart the music, create voids… Thus a score is created between the chamber orchestra and Jelena Kuljić that interrogates oblivion, reenacts the exclusion and murder of an artist, and pays tribute to his musical legacy. An evening about human and cultural destruction, centered on the question of how rituals of memory can be broken in order to arrive at an actual memory as a work on the present.

A project of the Jewish Chamber Orchestra Munich.
Sponsored by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.
School concert on 27.2.

Presentation for school classes and youth groups

Age recommendation: from approx. 10th grade/ 16 years
Cost: € 75 per school class (smaller groups/courses on request)

Booking and further information via the orchestra office 
Hanna Schwenkglenks | Caroline Hanshen
089 - 122 89 599 | info@jcom.de