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Sixth & I – Sanctuary

Ute Lemper: Songs for Eternity

Feb 8, 2017 • 7:30 pm ET
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On January 27, 2015 – the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz – German performer Ute Lemper was invited to sing songs that arose from the ghettos and concentration camps of Nazi Germany. At this commemoration of the Holocaust in Rome, she was introduced to Francesco Lotoro, who has dedicated his life to the research of an extensive collection of music written in the camps.

As a postwar German native who now lives in New York and is married to a Jewish man, Lemper is especially sensitive to the history of the Holocaust. She considers it her responsibility and has an ethical longing to honor the Jewish people and to stimulate dialogue about the past. She first set out on her mission in 1987 when she became the protagonist of the major recording series on DECCA ‘Entartete Musik’ (degenerate music) that presented Jewish composers whose music had been banned by the Nazis. With Songs for Eternity, this mission carries on and continues to touch lives.

Lemper continued researching and was overwhelmed by the stories behind each of the songs written in the ghettos and concentration camps, like a song collection by Vevel Pasternak from 1948. She also read the songbook of Holocaust victim Ilse Weber, which was published by Weber’s husband in Israel in the 1990’s, many decades after he survived Auschwitz.

Songs for Eternity was first performed in 2016 in Mantova, Italy, and premieres in Washington, DC at Sixth & I in cooperation with the German Embassy.