Elysium- Between Two Continents
Fostering artistic and creative dialogue and mutual friendship
between the United States of America and Europe.
Fighting against discrimination, racism and antisemitism
by means of art.
Since the middle of the 1990's, Elysium has presented and performed Viktor Ullmann's music from Theresienstadt in more than forty cities throughout Europe and the United States. Elysium was the first and (at that time) only organization in New York which dedicated all its efforts to the presentation of music by composers who were banned, silenced, or persecuted by the Nazis. The many concerts and musical-literary collages presenting works of mostly forgotten artists--works Elysium had found in archives in the US and Europe--had a trailblazing effect. Other organizations and individuals soon followed in Elysium's footsteps. Some of these composers, who were unknown a few years ago, are now regularly featured in concert and onstage around the world.
We proudly welcome the artists of Elysium to Canada for the first time, and we trust that it will not be the last.
Michael Lahr, Introductory Lecture
Michael Lahr is the Executive Director of the Lahr von Leïtis Academy & Archive and the Program Director of Elysium- Between Two Continents. In this capacity, he has conceived numerous programs such as Music from Theresienstadt and Degenerate Music. He curated the exhibition Erwin Piscator: Political Theater in Exile which was on view in Bernried, Catania, Munich, New York, and Salzburg. He is the author of the book The Erwin Piscator Award and co-author of the book Bilder des Menschen (Ideas of Men), for which he wrote an essay entitled Jewish Humanism and the Concept of Responsibility. Herr Lahr regularly gives lectures on philosophical topics of general social and political importance and serves on the advisory board of the Nietzsche Forum in Munich, Germany. Having studied philosophy at the Jesuit Universities in Munich and Paris, he earned his Master of Arts with a thesis on Michel Foucault's Concept of Subjectivity.
Dan Franklin Smith, Piano
Dan Franklin Smith is a resident of New York City but performs in colleges, universities, museums and concert halls throughout the US and Europe. He has been described as “an incredibly sensitive player” and “a master pianist.” Accolades such as “breathtakingly beautiful,” “technical wizardry,” “brilliant technique and emotional fervor” appear in every review. As Music Director and recital soloist with the international festival, Elysium- Between Two Continents, he is showcased in performances here and in Europe. Major German newspapers praise his work for “stirring emotionalism, precision with keen intensity, the subtle hesitations and shifts that constitute great expression.” As chamber musician and vocal accompanist, he has performed at venues such as The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.--where he recently presented a solo recital--the Cleveland Museum’s Distinguished Artist Series, and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City, as well as tours in Bermuda, Taiwan, and Puerto Rico.
Gregorij H. von Leïtis, Recitation
Herr von Leïtis has worked in many theatres in Europe and the US, among them the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, where he directed the Italian premiere of Ernst Krenek's opera What Price Confidence? and the Austrian State Theatres of Linz and Bregenz, where he directed the world premiere of Oskar Zemme's Maria. Other directing credits include the Bloomsbury Theatre in London, the Guggenheim Museum's acclaimed Works and Process series, and the Miller Theatre in New York, where he directed the New York premiere of Viktor Ullmann's opera The Emperor of Atlantis. For the Elysium Festival Bernried, he directed the world premiere of Egon Lustgarten's opera Dante in Exile. He is the Artistic Director of Elysium, which he founded in 1983 in New York City, President of the Lahr von Leïtis Academy & Archive, Chairman of the Annual Erwin Piscator Award, an advisor for the Nietzsche Forum in Munich, the Leon Askin Forum in Vienna, the Viktor Ullmann Foundation, and consultant for the Jewish Music Institute in London. His awards include the Knight's Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the New York Theatre Club Prize.
Photographs of the artists by Letizia Mariotti