A theatrical presentation of the life and music of the composer Gideon Klein, written and devised by David Fligg.
Actors and live music bring Gideon Klein's story to life.
Using the words of Gideon Klein himself, and those who knew him, this theatrical presentation was premiered in the USA, and performed in the UK and the Czech Republic. You can watch all three performances on this website.
On 27 January 1945, the young Czech Jewish composer Gideon Klein was murdered by the SS in an Auschwitz sub-camp. Prior to that, he was imprisoned in the Terezín (Theresienstadt) concentration camp, where he was at the centre of a unique array of musical and cultural activities.
Though his activities there are well documented, little has been known about his life in Prague before the war. Using actors and musicians, Gideon Klein: Portrait of a Composer draws on recently-discovered archival material and personal testimony, much of it never before having been presented in public, to portray, for the first time, his pre-war life. It is an intimate, poignant, and at times humorous account of artistic and Jewish life in Prague immediately before, and during, the German occupation, and of Gideon’s struggles to survive imprisonment.
Portrait of a Composer was premiered in 2016 on Yom Ha’Shoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) at Hillel, Madison (Wisconsin), as part of the 'Out of the Shadows: Rediscovering Jewish Music and Theatre' festival, and performed in the UK at the 'Out of the Shadows' festival there the following month. In September 2016, as part of the 'Out of the Shadows' festival in the Czech Republic, it was fully staged, directed by Kateřina Iváková, performed by drama students and the Fama Quartet at the Prague Conservatory, where Gideon had studied prior to the war.
As part of the Gideon Klein centenary events in 2019, further performances of Portrait of a Composer, in a new dramatisation by Brian Daniels, are planned at Prague's Švandovo divadlo (in repertory, Czech and English), and Tel Aviv's Karov Theatre (in Hebrew).
David Fligg's biography of Gideon Klein will be published in English and Czech in 2019.
Dramaturgy by Lisa Peschel, and translations by Hana Trojanova.